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'the art of FRRSCO-PAIHTIKO.* 




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London : I'rlnted by Wilmam Olowxi & Sows, Stamford Street. 





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■ * 

In the autumn of 1845 I was honoured by Her 
Majesty's Government with a commission to proceed 
to the North of Italy, for the purpose of collecting 
MSS. relative to the technical part of painting, with 
a view principally of ascertaining the processes and 
methods of oil-painting adopted by the Italians. I was 
also instructed generally to endeavour to procure tradi- 
tional and practical information on this subject from 
other sources. 

I succeeded in obtaining copies of the MSS. con- 
tained in the following volumes. On my return to this 
country, Sir Robert Peel was pleased to entrust me 
with the publication of the MSS., and to intimate that 
a part of the expenses of publication would be defrayed 
by Government 

I need not say how highly I was gratified by this 
distinction, for an occupation more congenial to my 
inclinations could scarcely have been suggested ; and I 
accepted the oflfer without, perhaps, properly consider- 
ing the magnitude of the undertaking, and my own 

The foUowing work, in which I have endeavoured to 
supply by diligence what I have wanted in ability, is 
the result of my labours. 


In preparing the MSS. for publication, I have 
adopted, as nearly as possible, a chronological arrange- 
ment, considering it was best adapted to show the 
progress of the art, and the technical methods in 
use from the twelfth or thirteenth to the eighteenth 

The early MSS., although they do not treat of oil- 
painting, properly so called, are useful in showing the 
state of the art of painting at the period when they 
were written, and the importance attached to the pre- 
paration and purification of colours. In an antiquarian 
and historical point of view these MSS. are also highly 
interesting. Some of the most valuable facts to be col- 
lected from them are mentioned in the preliminary 
observations prefixed to each treatise. With a view of 
rendering the MSS. mofe generally useful, I have pre- 
fixed to them a brief sketch of the history and technical 
processes of the different kinds of painting and other 
arts, which are alluded to in the MSS. 

Among the various recipes, many of which may b^ 
traced to a very early period, it will not occasion sur- 
prise that some should be found which partake of the 
barbarism of the times when they were written. Ab- 
surd, and perhaps useless, as a few of these may be 
considered, except as forming part of the History 
of Art, it has been thought advisable to publish the 
whole of the MSS. in order to satisfy the reader that 
nothing important has been omitted. The ortho- 
graphy of the originals has been always scrupulously 
followed; and no emendations have been permitted, 
except in one or two instances which are mentioned in 
the notes. 


Much information relative to oil-painting was com- 
municated to me orally by several eminent Italian 
artists during my tour. This information, which I 
endeavoured to preserve by committing the substance 
of their communications immediately to writing, is now 
published in the original form, with such explanatory 
notes as appeared necessary to make them intelligible. 

It also occurred to me that the statements made in 
these memoranda would require other confirmation 
than the oral testimony of living persons, who, although 
possessing much valuable knowledge acquired by their 
practice and researches, and much information derived 
from tradition and the study of works on art, are yet 
unknown to the reader, and their statements are fre- 
quently contradictory. It, therefore, appeared to me, 
that it would be important to examine and compare the 
statements of the Italian professors with the treatises 
contained in these volumes, and with many of the best 
English and foreign works connected with the fine arts, 
in order to ascertain how far the statements and prac- 
tice of these artists were supported in their view of the 
practice of the old masters; inasmuch as, in these 
points where they did coincide, it might fairly be con- 
eluded that the practice of the old masters was correctly 
stated by these modern professors. I have accordingly 
made this examination by comparing these statements 
with the most esteemed works on this subject The 
more important points connected with this examination 
I communicated to Sir Robert Peel in October, 1846. 
They are now more fully stated, with additions and 
corrections, in the following work. I have referred to 
the authorities from which I have framed my opinions, 

and from which the reader will be enabled to judge of 
the correctness of my conclusions. 

In arranging this brief account of the methods and 
materials adopted in oil-painting in Italy, it is to be 
observed, that it has not been my intention to give a 
complete history of all the procesEes employed in this 
art, and of the practice of the different schools, but 
merely to give such a general outline as will render the 
oral and documentary evidence and information con- 
tained in these volumes and now scattered through so 
many pages, available to the reader. The only varia- 
tions from the original memoranda which I have per- 
mitted myself to make consist in some necessary verbal 
corrections, and in some omissions of statements and 
opinions, which, on inquiry, could not be satisfactorily 
substantiated. I have also considered it unnecessary 
to mention the names of the professors who favoured 
me with the communications, although I was careful 
to ascertain that they were considered by competent 
judges eminent in their profession. 

Althoi^h no exertion has been wanting on my part 
to make the work as useliil as possible by a dispas- 
sionate and unprejudiced inquiry into the former pro- 
cesses of oil-painting, it may yet be feared that many 
errors have crept in, or been overlooked, and tlAt 
many links in the chain of evidence as well as in the 
technical processes are still wanting. As I have been 
particular in stating my authorities, the former may be 
ected by reference to the works indicated, the 
x will be supplied by Mr. Eastlake's promised 
me on the Technical Processes of the Italian 



I cannot dismiss the subject of oil-painting without 
acknowledging the great assistance I have derived 
from Mr. Eastlake's recent and very valuable work, 
* Materials for a History of Oil-Painting ;* and I take 
this opportunity of expressing my sincere thanks to 
him for the important assistance and encouragement he 
has so kindly and readily afforded me during the pro- 
gress of the work. 

To Ihe Earl of EUesmere I beg also to offer my 
very gratefiil acknowledgments for the loan of many 
valuable books, without which it would have been im- 
possible for me to have completed the work. 

To Sir Thomas Phillipps I am also indebted for 
a copy of an interesting work of the middle ages, en- 
titled ^Mappae Clavicula,' which I have found very 

To my highly-esteemed friend, Mr. Seymour, of 
Dorset Gardens, Brighton, my acknowledgments are 
also especially due for loans of books, and valuable 
references to others, which his extensive reading quali- 
fied him to give. To Mr. Charles Carpenter, of the 
Brighton Bench of Magistrates, I am indebted for 
similar assistance 

I beg also to thank Mr. Bobert Hendrie, junior, 
whose recent edition of Theophilus has been of great 
assistance to me; Mr. Borrer, of Henfield, Sussex; 
and Mr. Albert Way, Secretary of the Archseological 
Institute, for their ready attention to my applications. 

Mr. Hermann Schweitzer, of Brighton, the eminent 
analytical chemist, has also afforded me much valuable 
professional assistance, which I feel great pleasure in 

By means of the introducticHis with which I was 
favoured by Sir Henry Ellis and Sig. Panizzi, of the j j ■ 
British Museum ; by M. ChampoUion-Figeae, of the I p, 
BiWioth^que Koyale, at Paris ; and the Cav. Gazzera, 
of the Library of the University at Turin, I obtained i i^ 

access to the poblie libraries of many of the principal r 

cities of the North of Italy, and to some private 
libraries: especially those of the King of Sardinia ; the 
Marquis Trivulzio, and Conte Pompeo Litta, of Milan, 
autiior of the ' History of the Noble Families of Italy ;' 
Conte Francesco de' Lazara, of Padua, the nephew and 
heir of the Cav. Lazara, whose valuable collection of 
MSS. and works on art is so ii-equently mentioned by 
Lanzi; of Sig. Giuseppe Riva, of the Monte Berici, 
aear Ticenza, author of several works of antiquarian 
interest; of the Canon Eamelli, of Rovigo; of Sig. M. 
A. Gualandi, of Bologna, editor of an interesting series 
of original documents and letters of painters ; of Pro- 
fessor Longhena and Sig. Vallardi, of Milan : to all of 
whom I beg to express my obligations for the facilities 
afibrded me.* 

* My acknowledgmenta and thanks are also due to many eminent id 
~'ence, and art on the Continent. I regret to omit ihe names 
D), and among otliers named in these volumea, I feel gretilied 
my obligatnns to M.leComte Charles de I'Escalopier, andM. 
Parii; the C«T. Promis, of the Private Library of the Kingof 
Conte GaJiCeris, of Turin; Conle Giberto Borromco, and the 
■f the Brera Library, Dr. Zai'deiti, of the Cabinet of Medalt, 
knd Vallardi, of Milan ; Conte Lochia, President of the Ao- 
ira, Conte Pietro Moroni, Sig. Salvioni of the Public Library, 
igoni, of Bergamo ; Conte Luigi Lechi, of Brescia ; Conte 
and Ctmie Jacomo Mosconi (known to the litenry world ai 
' of some of the works of Sir Walter Scott), of Verona ; the 
io, the Ab. Barbaran of the Library of the Seminario,the Ab. 
he University Library, and Prof. Poli of the UniTernty of 


In preparing the follcming treatises for publication, 
1 have been greatly assisted by my sons^ Charles and 
Frederic, who translated the whole of the M8S. 

In conclusion I would observe, that the work has 
been begun and finished under the pressure of great 
domestic anxiety and ill health, which sometimes ren- 
dered it scarcely possible to give that attention which 
so arduous a task required. Under these circumstances 
I have to request the indulgence of the reader for any 
oversights and mis-translations which may be found in 
the work. These errors will, however, be less impor- 
tant, inasmuch as the translations are accompanied by 
the original text, and any mistakes in the former may 
be corrected by reference to the latter. The fatigue 
of comparing the translations with works in MS. so 
numerous and so long, can only be appreciated by those 
who have been engaged in similar undertakings. 

The labour, however, has been far from irksome : on 
the contrary, it has been pursued from beginning to 
end with intense interest ; and from the consolation and 
stimulus I have derived from the pursuit, in many a 

Padua ; the Baron Galvagna, President of the Academy of Fine Arts at 
Venice ; Sig. Gio. 0*KeIly Edwards, son of Sig. Pietro Edwards, who 
restored the public pictures at Venice; Mr. Rawdon Brown, the Ab. 
Cadorin, the biographer of Titian ; the Ab. Valentinelli, of the Marciana 
Library ; Dr. Vincenzo Lazari, editor of a recent edition of the * Travels of 
Marco Polo;' Sig. Cigogna, author of the valuable work entitled * Iscrizioni 
Yenetiane ; ' Signori Felice Schiavone, Tagliapietra, and Quarena, of 
Venice; Dr. Devit, of the Public Library of Rovigo; the Ab. Antonelli, 
of the Ducal Library, and Sig. N. Cittadella, of Ferrara; Sig. Vegetti, of 
the Library of the University of Bologna ; Sig. Gaetano Giordini, Inspec- 
tor of the Pinacoteca, and Sig. Masini, Secretary of the Academy of Fine 
Arts at Bologna ; the Cav. Pezzana, of the Ducal Library, and Sig. Scara- 
musda, of Parma ; Sig. Bombardini, and Sig. Giambatista Baseggio, Pre- 
sident of the Athenaeum, of Bassano. 

weary hour, I take leave of it with the regret which | 
one always feels on partiDg with an old and agreeable i 

■; M. P. M, 

Brighbm, 6th Nov., 1848. 





O* TH. Stat, o, Soci«rr aw. or th. Aw. »«mk« th. ^^^ 



MuriATUBB PAnrriwG 



Tarsia Work 

• XXYl 






§ 1 . Early History of Glass Printing in Italy 

§ 2. Windows . • • • • 
$ 8. Various Methods of Painting on Glass 
$ 4, Other Uses to which Glass was applied 
iVb*«.— On Jewish Glass . 










On Gilding and othkb Abts — 

§ 1. On Gilding .... 
§ 2. On Auripetrum and Porporino • 
§ 3. On the Use of Wax in Painting 
§ 4. On Painting Statues . • 

§ 5. On the Implements used in Painting 
§ 6. On Leather, Dyed and Gilt 
§ 7. On Niello .... 
§ 8. On Dyeing .... 











Painting in Oil — 

Introduction ••.... 



§ 1 . Opinions of Eminent Italian Artists as to the Practice 

of the Old Masters 


§ 2. Colours used in Painting . 

. cxlviii 

§ 8. On Oils and Varnishes— 

On Grinding and Diluting the Colours 

. ccxxx 

On the Purification of Oils . 

• ccxxxii 

On Dryers and Drying Oils • 

• cexxxvi 

On Essential Oils 


On Resins . . • • , 

• ccxiviii 

On Varnishes 


• On Varnish in Tainting * . ' , 


. cclxxY 

On • Varnishing PictiiFes • , 

. cclxxx 

§ 4. On the Preparation of the Grounds , 

. cclxxxi 

Methods of Painting . 

. ccxciii 

Note — On MS. of Fra Fortunato of Rovigo 




Preliminary Observations ....... 1 

Tabula db Vocabulis Sinonimis bt Equivocis CoiiORDM . 18 

{Ibble of Synonymes and Words of uncertain sign^kation,) 

Alia Tabula Imperfecta et sine Inicio • • . • 39 

{Another Table, imperfect and toithout a beginning.) 

Experimenta de Coloribus ^ ...... 47 

{Experiments on Ck^ours,) 

Manuscripts of S. Audemar — 

Preliminary Observations 112 

Liber Magistri Petri de Sancto Audemaro de Coloribus 
Faciendis •.....•• 117 

{I7ie Book of Master Peter, of S. Audemar, on makinp 

Manuscripts of Eraclius — 

Preliminary Observations 166 

De Coloribus et Artibus Romanorum — 

(On tite Colours and Arts of the Romans) — 

Lib. 1 188 

Lib. II 199 

Lib. Ill 206 

Manuscripts op Archbrius — 

De Coloribus Diversis Modis Tractatur . . 259 

{A Treatise on preparing many kinds of Colours,) 

De Diversis Coloribus 281 

(On Colours qf different kinds,) 

Additional Recipes by Jehan le Begue . . .291 


Page 4, Hue 12 fh>m bottom, for Again at Milan, read at Genoa. 

top, for Jaoobo, read Jacobus, 
bottom, dele "the." 

bottom I -^ "^ Janua, read at Genoa. 

bottom,/or mixed howeyer with oil and a little Tarnish, 
read a little Tarnish being mixed with the oiL .\ 
















History gives but a melancholy view of the state of 
society in Europe towards the close of the dark ages. 
The domestic habits and accommodations of the people 
were rude in the extreme. The nobles were devoted 
to the pursuit of arms, and when not actually engaged 
in war their timfe was occupied in hunting and hawking, 
of which they were passionately fond. Nor did they 
disdain, in the intervals of these employments, to be- 
come highway-robbers, and to possess themselves by 
force of the money and baggage of the travellers whom 
chance threw in their way.^ 

Men so employed could have but little relish for the 
elegancies and comforts of domestic life. Their castles 
were merely a retreat from the pursuit of their enemies, 
and were more suited to secure the defence and safety 
of their possessions than to display their wealth and 
magnificence. The walls of these edifices were lofty 
and substantial, the openings for the admission of light 
few and narrow, the apertures unclosed with glass ; the 
interior walls, which were bare, had no decorations but 
arms and the trophies of the chase. The intellectual 
condition of the nobles was scarcely more advanced 

1 See Ilallam's Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 368. 
VOL. I. h 


than their domestic arrangements ; the accomplishment 
of reading was possessed by few, that of writing was 
still more rare. Neither Frederic Barbarossa, John, 
King of Bavaria, nor Philip the Hardy of France, 
could read ; nor could Theodoric or Charlemagne 
write.^ Of the barons whose names are affixed to 
Magna Charta very few could write. 

The domestic accommodations were in accordance 
with the edifices. A passage quoted by Mr. Hallam,* 
from a work written about the year 1300, shows the state 
of manners in Italy during the age of Frederic Barba- 
rossa.' "In those days," the author observes, "the 
manners of the Italians were rude. A man and his 
wife eat off the same plate. There were no wooden- 
handled knives nor more than one or two drinking-cups 
in a house. Candles of wax or tallow were unknown ; 
a servant held a torch during supper. The clothes of 
men were of leather unlined; scarcely any gold or 
silver was seen on their dress." 

Such a state of society, it may be readily supposed, 
afforded small scope for the development of the arts. 
They were not, however, totally lost. The cloister, 
while it afforded a shelter and retreat from the more 
active pursuits of life, afforded also to the monks leisure 
and opportunity for cherishing the arts, the technical 
processes of which were preserved in their convents. 
The magnificent cathedrals which were erected during the 
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries,* not only in 

I Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. Hi. p. 329. » Ibid., p. 409. 

3 Frederic Barbarossa was bom a.b. 1 121 , ascended the throne a.i>. 1 152, 
and died a.d. 1190. 

4 In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the Basilica of St. Mark*s at Venice, 
and the Cathedrals of Pisa and Siena, were erected ; and in the thirteenth the 
Basilica of S. Francesco di Assisi, the Duomo of Florence, that of Orvieto, 
and the churches of S. Antonio at Padua, Sta. Maria Novella at Florence, 
S. Croce, SS. Giovanni and Paulo, and the Frari at Venice, and the Campo 
Santo of Pisa. In other parts of Europe, the Cathedrals of Cologne, of 
Beauvais, Chartres, Rheims, Amiens, Brussels, York, Salisbury, West- 
minster, Burgos, Toledo, &c., were built* See, on this subject, Marchese, 
Memorie del piuinsigni Pittori, &c. Domenicani, vol. i. p. 17. 


Italy, but in the more northern parts of Europe, gave 
an additional impulse to the study of painting. It was 
the delight of the monks to adorn these edifices with 
painted windows of the most brilliant colours, to cover 
the interior with pictures representing Scripture stories, 
which were to serve for the catechism and instruction 
of the common people,^ and to embellish the choral 
books with the most elaborate miniatures. 

It is impossible to study the history of the arts of the 
middle ages without considering the immense influence 
exercised over society by monastic institutions. It is 
unnecessary to inquire here whether this influence was 
the cause or the effect of the darkness which hung over 
Europe at this period ; it is sufficient to state that it 
extended over all classes of society, for the monks, who 
were the legislators* and physicians' of that period, 
and who possessed almost exclusively all the learning 
of the age, were almost the only persons skilled in the 
arts of sculpture, painting, and architecture. Marchese 
observes, with reference to the services rendered to the 
arts by the monks in Italy,* that " after having taught 
their ferocious conquerors the duty of forgiveness, 
struggled against the pride of the powerful, and preached 
the Gospel in the midst of the barbarous feudal laws, 
they prepared themselves to build bridges, to embank 
rivers, to construct magnificent cathedrals and abbeys, 
niany of which remain to record the variety of their 
genius and the benefits they conferred on mankind. In 
vain would the patronage of Charlemagne, of Theodo- 

^ An inscription formerly over the principal door of the Church of 
S. Nizier de Trojes states that a certain cure had caused three windows to 
be painted ** for the catechism and instruction of the people." — L'Anglois, 
Essai sur la Peinture sur Verre, p. 16. 

« Mosheim's Eccles. Hist, vol. ii. pp. 26 and 377 n. 

s See Introduction to Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials for a History of Oil 

* Memorie de* Pittori, &c., p. 13. 



linda,* of Theodoric, and of some of the popes have 
sufficed to save the arts from total ruin, if the monks 
had not, with so much affection, protected and practised 
them during so many centuries. They preserved to us 
the traditions transmitted to them by the Byzantines, 
and bequeathed them to future ages, stamping them 
with that expression and melancholy which transpires 
in them in spite of the inelegance of the forms ; and 
they ennobled by their profession the arts which their 
barbarous conquerors despised." 

The proof that Europe is indebted to the religious 
communities for the preservation of the arts during the 
dark ages, rests on the fact that the most ancient 
examples of Christian art consist of the remains of 
mural pictures in churches, of illuminations in sacred 
books, and of vessels for the use of the church and the 
altar, and on the absence of all similar decorations on 
buildings and utensils devoted to secular uses during 
the same period, to which may be added that many of 
the early treatises on painting were the work of eccle- 
siastics as well as the paintings themselves. A similar 
remark may be made with regard to architecture, many 
of the earliest professors of which were monks. 

Painting was essentially a religious occupation. The 
early professors of the art believed that they had an 
especial mission to make known the works and miracles 
of God to the common people, who were unacquainted 
with letters, "agli uomini grossi che non sanno lettere."* 
Actuated by this sentiment, it is not surprising that so 
many of the Italian painters should have been members 
of monastic establishments. It has been observed that 
the different religious orders selected some particular 
branch of the art, which they practised with great suc- 

i Theodolinda caused to be painted on the walls of the palace of Monza 
the principal events in the history of the Lombards. See Rio, de la Po^ie 
Chr^tienne, p. 20, n. 

8 See the Statutes of the Sienese Painters — Carteggio Inedito, &c., ro\, u. 


cess in the convents of their respective orders. Thus 
the Gesuati and Umiliati attached themselves to paint- 
ing on glass and architecture, the Olivetani to Tarsia 
work, the Benedictines and Camaldolites to painting 
generally, and the monks of Monte Casino to miniature 
painting, while the Dominicans appear to have practised 
all the various branches of the fine arts (with the ex- 
ception of mosaics) and to have produced artists who 
excelled in each. 

The various remains of the artistic skill of the monks 
of the middle ages which have escaped the ravages of 
time sufficiently attest their mechanical dexterity in 
these arts, and the excellence of the traditionary prac- 
tices of which they were for some time the sole depo- 

Great, however, as the technical skill of the monks 
undoubtedly was at this period, their paintings were 
distinguished neither for accuracy of drawing nor for 
elegance or variety of design. Until the time of 
Cimabue and Giotto the Byzantine type was adhered 
to with little variation in Italy, or at least in the 
northern and southern parts ; but in Rome a somewhat 
different style prevailed, which has been called the 
Italian. The mural pictures and mosaics throughout 
Lombardy presented everywhere the same lengthened ^ 
and attenuated figures, standing on the tips of their toes 
(for the painters of those days did not possess the art of 
representing the feet in perspective), with ample and 
flowing draperies, narrow and ill-shaped extremities, 
solemn and severe aspects, and large, open, and staring 
black eyes ; the outlines of the figures were hard and 
black, cutting sharply the gold back-ground, and the 
expression of the features inspired awe and terror. The 
same type prevailed in the districts of Southern Italy. 

1 The figures of the Byzantine school were sometimes thirteen heads in 

XXll INTRODUCTION. [chap. i. 

The good taste of Gimabue introduced in the thirteenth 
century a better style of art, which was much improved 
by his gifted pupil Giotto ; and such was the influence 
of their example that the Byzantine style was banished 
from Tuscany, and wherever the works and influence 
of these artists extended. 

The improvement in the civil condition of the people 
followed, if it did not keep pace with the advancement 
of the arts. In the twelfth century there were many 
influences which had been for some time silently pro- 
ducing a change in the manners of the people. Among 
these may be enumerated the Crusades, which, by 
making the turbulent and warlike nobles of Europe 
acquainted with the arts and luxuries of the more re- 
fined and polished Saracens, awakened in them a taste 
for dress and the elegant enjoyments of life ; the com- 
mercial enterprise of a few cities,^ which, in spite of 
wars and tumults, succeeded in establishing an uninter- 
rupted intercourse with Constantinople and Palestine, 
and introducing the merchandise of Asia and Africa 
into the interior of Europe ;* the settlements in Sicily, 
in the kingdom of Naples, and in Spain, of tiie Sa- 
racens, who, less distracted with wars than the Eu- 
ropeans, had leisure to attend to the erection of palaces 
and to the cultivation of the arts ; and the establish- 
ment of the silk and woollen manufactories,^ and the 
consequent increase in the comforts and conveniences 
of life. To these may be added the occasional cessation 
of war, which enabled the laity to devote themselves 
to the study of the arts. During this period the kind 

1 Venice, Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa. See Hallam, Mid. Ages, toI. iii. pp. 
367, 388, 389, 390. 

s Saggio suir Antico Commercio, sull' Arti, e sulla Marina de' Vene- 
ziani, da Jacopo Filiasi, pp. 27 n., 153. 

8 A silk manufactory was established at Palermo in 1148, and in the 
same century at Genoa. There were woollen manufactories in England in 
the twelfth century. — Hallam, Midd. Ages, voK iii. pp. 367, 393. 



of painting most practised in Italy was mosaic, but in 
the western part of Europe painting on glass appears 
to have been exercised in preference to all others. 

In the thirteenth century the manners of the people 
were still rude and uncultivated, but towards the latter 
end of this century a sensible refinement took place, 
especially in Italy. In Venice there were at this period 
laws in which were mentioned the tariffi regulating the 
manufactories of gauzes, purple cloth, and cloth of 
gold;^ this is sufficient evidence of the establishment 
of manufactories of these articles and of the increased 
taste for dress. At this period the commerce of Mar- 
seilles widi the Levant was in its greatest prosperity. 
Montpellier and Aries were also engaged in the same 
pursuit, and at the end of this century or the beginning 
of the fourteenth the first Venetian vessels arrived at 
Antwerp laden with spices, drugs, and silk stufis ; to 
these were added perfumes, cotton, and colours.^ 

The amelioration of the manners and habits of the 
people was decidedly favourable to the development of 
the arts in Italy, and the influx of Greek artists, after 
the taking of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204, 
gave them an additional impulse, and contributed to their 
revival in different parts of the country. From the 
ancient mosaic on the Duomo of Spoleto, dated 1207/ 
works of art, bearing the names of the artists and the 
date, are of frequent occurrence in the annals of art 
Guido da Siena painted the large Madonna in S. Do- 
menico at Siena in 1221 ; and the works of Giunto da 
Pisa were executed during the early part of this 

These artists were succeeded by Cimabue, to whose 
influence is ascribed the revival of painting in Florence. 

1 See Filiasi, Sagg^o, &c., p. 153. 

< Guicctardini, Belgli Deecript., AiDrterdam, 161 3« quoted by Depping. 

3 Kagler, Handbook of Painfiiig in Italy, p. 28. 


In the middle of this century arose the Florentine 
school of mosaic painters under Andrea Tafi, who was 
taught the art by the Greeks ; and the family of Cos- 
mati, also painters in mosaic, flourished at Rome about 
the same period. 

Id France and England other branches of the art 
were cultivated with success, especially painting on 
glass ; and a taste for mural paintings appears to have 
arisen in England. 

The arts had also made some progress in Spain 
during this century, for the corporation of the painters 
and sculptors of Barcelona dates from the same period.' 
The incorporation of similar societies in Italy appears 
to have taken place at a later period.' 

During this century the kings of England found 
leisure to attend to the decoration of the interior of their 
palaces. It is ascertained from records preserved at 
Winchester, that there was a " painted chamber" in this 
the favourite city of the kings of England, as early as 
the year 1216;' and it appears also from another 
document that this apartment was decorated with his- 
torical pictures.* In other documents, paintings, the 
subjects of which are mentioned, were ordered to be 
executed in the Hall at Winchester, in the Painted 
Chamber and Palace at Westminster, in the Castle of 
Nottingham, and other Royal residences.' 

1 A.D. 1291. Capmany, Memorias, &c., tome iii., cited by DepfAog, 
ol. i. p. 264. 

a of the Sienese painters are dated I3S5 ; (hoee of tbo 
1; of the Florentine pabtera in 1339. Those oT Padua 
omc years earlier. The Florentine painters were ineludcd 
ipany as the physiciong and apothecaries. See Gaye, Car- 
fols. i. and ii. p. i. 

4 Heo. III., mem. 16, cited in the ArchKological 
i, p. 69. 

istlake's ' Materials,' p. 556. 

it. 17 Hen. III. mem. 6, and other documents quoted in 
cal Journal for 1B46, pp. 70-77 ; and \a Mr. Eastlake'a 
Iliatory of Fainting in Oil,' vol. i. pp. 552-561. 


The analysis of early mural pictures, and the direc- 
tions of Le Begue, Theophilus, and the author of the 
Bolognese MS^ place it beyond a doubt that the greater 
part of these paintings were executed in tempera. 
Many of those which are called fresco paintings, were 
merely commenced in fresco and finished in distemper/ 
The art of fresco-painting, properly so called, did not 
arise until some time after the period of which I am 
now speaking. The paintings on the walls of the 
Chapel of S. Jacopo di Pistoia were ascertained by Pro- 
fessor Branchi to have been executed upon a ground 
composed of sulphate of lime (plaster of Paris, the 
gesso of the Italians), carbonate of lime, and a yellowish 
colouring matter tempered with glue. It has also been 
ascertained that many of the beautiful mural paintings 
by Bernardino Luini, in the Chapel of the Monjustero 
Maggiore at Milan, were not painted in buon-fresco, but 
on white stucco, in the ancient manner.* 

It appears, from MSS. of this period, that it was 
sometimes the custom in England to whitewash the 
exterior of castles, and sometimes to paint them of three 

" This castel is payoted without with thre inaner colours : 
Rede brennand colour is above toward the Mr tours, 
Meyne colour is y-middes of ynde and of blewe, 
Grene colour be the ground that never changes hewe." 

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the houses 
of the English, of the middle and lower classes, con- 
sisted in general of a ground-floor only, divided into 
two apartments, namely, a hall, into which the prin- 
cipal door opened, and which was the room for cooking, 
eating, and receiving visitors ; and a chamber adjoining 
the hall, and opening out of it, which was the private 
apartment of the females of the family and the bed- 

1 See the First and Second Reports of the Commissioners of Fine Arts. 

s Milano e il suo Territorio, vol. ii. p. 254. 

3 See Archaeological Journal, Pari IV., Jan. 1845, p. 304. 


room at night. The greater part of the houses in 
London were built after this plan.^ The habitations 
of the more wealthy classes differed from those of the 
middle ranks only in having an upper floor, called a 
8oler^ or solar^ on which was an apartment called a 
" saloon." The access to this was by a flight of stairs 
on the outside of the nouse.* The soler is mentioned 
in the Le Begue MS., p. 88, probably with reference to 
an English house, since the term occurs in the recipes 
given by Theodore of Flanders to Alcherius. A differ- 
ent style of architecture prevailed on the Continent, for 
it is related that when Henry HI. visited S. Louis at 
Paris, he greatly admired the houses of that city, con- 
sisting for the most part of many stories.' In houses 
of this description there was but little room for decora- 
tion ; and they appear to have been but scantily pro- 
vided with furniture. Even at a much later period, 
neither looking-glasses nor chairs are mentioned in the 
catalogue of the furniture of Contarini, the rich Vene- 
tian trader, who resided at St. Botolph*s, in London, in 
1481;^ or in that of a nobleman in 1572. The 
Bolognese MS., however, mentions glass mirrors, in a 
manner which proves that they were not uncommon in 
Italy at the time that MS. was written. 

In the fifteenth century the taste for decoration ex- 
tended, as might be supposed, to the castles of the 
nobility, and the apartments were decorated with his- 
torical paintings from the Old and New Testament. 

*^ Ther men tnyzth se, ho that wolde, 
Arcangeles of rede golds, 
fiytly mad of o molde, ^ , 

Lowynge ful lyzth ; 

1 See notice of the ' Chronicle of the Mayors and Sherifis of London 
from 1188 to 1274/ in the Arch. Joum. for Sept. 1847, p. 282. 

< Illustrations of the Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages, by 
Mr. Wright, Arch. Joum., Sept. 1844. 

» Arch. Jour., Sept. 1847, p. 282. 

4 Hallam*8 Middle Ages, vol. lit. p. 428. 


With the Pocalyps of Jon, 
The Powles Pystoles everychon, 
The paraboles of Salamoo, 

Paynted ful ryzth. 
And the foure gospellores, 
Sytting on pyllores, 
Hend, herkeneth and heres, 

Gyf hyt be zoure wyll. 
Austyn and Gregory, 
Jerome and Ambrose, 
Thus the foure doctores 

Lystened than tylle. 
Ther was purtred in ston, 
The fylesoferes everychon, 
The story of Absolon, 

That lykyd foil yUe/'^ 

It will be observed that in all the early MSS. pub- 
lished in this volume clocks are not mentioned, but the 
hours of the day were reckoned from sun-rise, and 
shorter periods by the time occupied in repeating Ave 
Marias, Paternosters, and Misereres. From this we 
may collect that, although the apartments of castles and 
palaces might reckon among their articles of domestic 
convenience — 

'^ An orrelegge (horloge) one hyzth 
To rynge the ours at nyzth,*' 

they were unknown in convents, and among the mid- 
dle classes, at least until the later half of the fifteenth 

1 From a manuscript of the fifteenth century, in the Public Library at 
Cambridge, quoted in the Arch. Jour., Sept. 1844. 




Having thus taken a cursory view of the state of society 
and of the arts during the middle ages, it may not be 
uninteresting to treat more particularly of those arts, 
the technical processes of which are described in the 
following MSS., in order to render the various practical 
directions more available to the student, and more 
interesting to the general reader. 

It has been observed ^ that the rise and progress of 
painting is better shown by miniatures than by large 
pictures, because the altar-pieces and frescoes were fre- 
quently repetitions of smaller works painted in choral 
books, and the parchment on which they are executed 
being better preserved than pictures on waDs, and less 
injured by retouching, represented more exactly the types 
and traditions of the early schools. Besides the minia- 
tures painted in books, it was also the custom to a£Sx to 
every picture a predella or gradino,* on which the 
different events of the life of the Saint represented in 
the picture were portrayed in miaiatare; the frames 
were also ornamented with small figures, so that the 
study of miniature-painting was necessary to all painters. 
We turn, therefore, with increased interest to the early 
history of miniature-painting, which, after the revival of 
the art,* must be sought chiefly in the archives of the 

1 Marchese, Memorie, &c., vol. i. lib. i. cap. xi. p. 175. 

s The step on the top of the altar was so called. ' 

3 The school of miniature painters was very important during the eighth 
and ninth centuries. Kuglcr mentions some interesting illuminations exe- 
cuted in manuscripts of this period. (See Handbook of Painting in Italy, 
p. 20.) 


convents of the Benedictine, Camaldolese, and Domini- 
can monks, and in those of the Canons Regular. It is 
impossible to imagine any employment more congenial 
to the peaceful and contemplative lives of the monks, in 
the intervals of their religious duties, than the pleasing 
and almost luxurious occupation of illustrating the 
sacred books with stories from Scripture, and of ornament- 
ing with elaborate miniatures the works of Virgil and a 
few of the other classic authors. It is not surprising, 
therefore, that this kind of painting should have found 
so many followers in the cloisters. 

The art of miniature painting was divided into two 
branches: the professors of the first were styled 
" Miniatori," or miniature painters, or illuminators of 
books ; and those of the second, " Miniatori caligrafi," 
or " pulchri scriptores.*' To the first class belonged the 
task of painting the Scripture stories, the borders, and 
the arabesques, and of laying on the gold and ornaments 
of the MSS. 

The second wrote the whole of the work, and those 
initial letters generally drawn with blue or red, full of 
flourishes and fanciful ornaments, in which the patience 
of the writer is frequently more to be admired than his 
genius. The wood-cut^ in the next page shows a writer 
of the fifteenth century engaged in this occupation and 
surrounded with his various implements. With the 
miniatori may be classed the authors and collectors of 
many of the MSS. now published, and others of a similar 
nature. To the second class belongs Alberto Porzello, 
who is mentioned- in the Le Begue MS. to have been 
" perfect in all kinds of writing, and to have kept a 
school at Milan, where he taught the art to young men 
and boys/' But the two branches were frequently prac- 

1 Copied from the work of M. AJmd Champollion-Figeac, entitled 
' Louis et Charles, Dues d'Orldans, leur Influence sur les Arts, la Littera- 
ture, et TEsprit de leur Si5cle, d'apr6s les 'Documents Originaux et Ics 
Peintres dcs Manuscrits,' Paris, 1844. 


Frma a UanMiCTipl in lAa aiWuMjmt Rgyala at Prnv. 

tised by the same person, whence the term "writing" 
w»s also extended to painting, and the word was not 
confined to miniature painting only, but was applied to 
painting on glass, which was also called " writing on 
glass." As to the origin of the word " miniature," it 
received its name from the practice of writing the 
rubrics and initial letters with minium or red lead. 
The French term " illuminer" is supposed to be derived 
from the custom of illuminating or heightening the 
lights with gold. The term occurs in the Lucca MS., 
in the chapter " De L^uri." 

Previous to the invention of printing the art of 
calligraphy was of great importance. It was the cus- 
tom and the pride of the large religious establishments 
to have the books used in the celebration of Divine 
Service exquisitely written, and adorned with minia- 
tures. The recent researches into the archives of the 
different Italian cities have brought to light the minutes 
of expenses of some of these books, which prove the 


time occupied in painting them, and the large sums 
paid to the artists for executing them, or for the pur* 
chase of the materials ; for the monks did not receive 
payment for the works intended for their own convents. 
The choral books of the convent of S. Marco, at 
Florence, were written and painted by Fra Benedetto 
del Mugello (the elder brother of Frate Angelico^), 
with the assistance of the monks. The cost of these 
books was 1500 ducats, and the time occupied in com- 
pleting them was five years.* 

The choral books belonging to the cathedral of 
Ferrara are thirty in number; twenty-two of which 
are 26 inches long by 18 in breadth, and the remaining 
eight smaller. They were begun in the year 1477, 
and completed in 1535.^ The most interesting of 
these books, for the beauty of the characters, as well as 
for the miniatures, were executed by Jacopo Filippo 
d' Argenta, Frate Evangelista da Reggio, a Franciscan, 
Andrea delle Veze, Giovanni Vendramin of Padua, 
and Martino di Giorgio da Modena. The parchment 
on which these books are written is in excellent pre- 
servation. It is worthy of remark that great part of 
the parchment or vellum for these books was brought 
from Germany, or, at least, was manufactured by 
Germans. There is an entry in the records of the 
cathedral, for the year 1477, of a sum of money paid 
to M. Alberto da Lamagna for 265 skins of vellum; 
of another sum, paid in 1501, for 60 skins, to Fiero 
Iberno, also a German ; and to Creste, another Ger- 
man, for 50 skins, furnished by them on account of 
these books. 

The magnificent choral books, thirteen in number, 
which formerly belonged to the Certosa of Pavia, are 

1 Called also Beato Angelico. 

* Marchese, Memorie, &c., vol. i. p. 189. 

s Document! risguardanti i Libri Corali del Duomo di Ferrara, commu* 
nicated by the Ab. Antonelli, of the Public Library at Ferrara, to Sig. Gua- 
landi, by whom they were published in his Meroorie, &c., ser. ▼!. p. 153. 

xxxu NTRODUCTION. [chap. n. 

now in the library of Brera, at Milan. They are of 
very large size, probably three feet by two, and many 
of the illuminations are very beautiful. 

As a work of art, the choral books of the Monastery 
degli Angeli in Florence are perhaps more remarkable 
than those of Ferrara. They are twenty in number, 
and were all written by one writer, and embellished by 
one miniature painter. The former, Don Jacopo, was 
a Gamaldolese monk, of the same religious house at 
Florence; and, according to Vasari,^ was not only a 
most excellent person, but the best writer of initial 
letters that ever lived, not only in Tuscany, but in 
Europe; and he adds, that these choral books are 
perhaps, as regards the writing, the finest and largest 
in Italy; Don Jacopo also wrote other books at 
Rome and at Venice. The miniatures in the above- 
mentioned choral books, which are all by the hand of 
Don Silvestro, are not less excellent than the writing ; 
and so great was the esteem in which these two monks, 
D. Jacopo and D. Silvestro, were held in their con- 
vent, that the right hand of each was preserved in a 
casket with the utmost veneration. Yasari adds that 
he, who had seen these books so many times, was 
astonished at the skill in design and ability with which 
they were executed, at a period when the art of design 
was all but lost ; for these monks flourished about the 
year 1350. 

The choral books of the Cathedral of Siena have 
been preserved with the greatest care. They were all 
attributed by Vasari to Piero di Perugia,* but they are 
known to have been painted by several artists, among 
whom may be mentioned Liberale di Verona and 
Ansino di Pietro, whose names are inscribed on their 
paintings' There were also fourteen magnificent 
choral books in the convent of S*** Maria del Sasso, 

1 Life of Don Lorenzo. 
* Life of Agnolo Gaddi. 3 Marchese, Memorie, &c., vol. i. p. 197, 


near Bibbiena, which were executed by Era Pietro di 
Tramoggiano, and which were valued at upwards of 
1500 scudi. Many of the miniatures were cut out 
and carried away, others were sent to S**' Maria 
Novella, at Florence ; but the books are now lost, and 
the convent does not at the present time possess a 
single miniature.* 

The sister arts of calligraphy and miniature painting' 
flourished simultaneously in Italy and in the countries 
north of the Alps. The celebrated monastery of St 
Gall possessed a school of painters, who were distin- 
guished even in the ninth century. In the tenth 
century, Tutilo, a member of this community, was 
equally famous as a painter, poet, musician, sculptor, 
and statuary. But the best miniature painter of the 
tenth century was Godemann, who was chaplain of the 
Bishop of Winchester from a.d. 963 to 984, and after- 
wards Abbot of Thornley. His benedictional, orna- 
mented with thirty beautiful miniatures, is in the 
possession of the Duke of Devonshire. In the eleventh 
century schools of painting were formed at Hildesheim 
and Paderborn ; and the art was exercised by ecclesi- 
astics of the highest rank.* The reputation of the 
French miniature painters had reached Italy in the 
time of Dante, who alludes to the practice of the art 

'^ Ch' aUuminare h chiamato in Parigi/' 

while recording the merit of Oderigi da Gubbio and 
Franco Bolognese. Many artists who followed this 
branch of the profession are enumerated by Alcherius in 
the work of Le Begue. Some of these were natives of 
Italy, others of France, and others of Flanders. The 
Italian miniature painters are numerous. Among the 

I .Compendio Storico Critico sopra le due Immagine di Maria S. S. nella 
Chiesa di Sta. Maria del Sasso, presso Bibbiena, dato in luce dal P. Yin- 
cenzo Fineschi, Firenze, 1792, cap. x. p. 72 ; cited by Marcheae, vol. i. 

p. 209. 

s See Rio, de la Po^^sie Chrdtienne, p. 32-34. 

VOL. I. C 


xxxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap. n. 

most celebrated miniatori of the fifteenth century was 
Francesco dai Libri, a native of Verona, called the Old, 
to distinguish him from his son Girolamo. He obtained 
the appellation " dai Libri " from his employment, 
which consisted in illuminating MSS. ; and, as he lived 
before the discovery of the art of printing, he found 
constant occupation, because those persons who paid 
the expense of the writing, which was very great, were 
also desirous of seeing their books ornamented with 
.miniatures. Francesco lived to a great age, and died 
contented and happy, because, says Vasari, " in addi- 
tion to the peace of mind which he derived from his 
own virtues, he left a son who was a better painter than 
himself." This son was Girolamo dai Libri, whose 
merits as a miniature painter ftiUy equalled the sanguine 
expectations of his father. Yasari is warm in his 
praises. He says, " Girolamo painted flowers with such 
skill, truth, and beauty, that they appeared like nature 
itself; and he imitated small cameos and other engraved 
stones and jewels in such a manner that it was impos- 
sible to make them more like, or more minute ; and 
among the figures which he made on cameos and facti- 
tious stones, may be seen some which are not larger 
than a small ant, yet all their limbs and muscles are 
seen distinctly." Girolamo illuminated many books 
for religious societies, and especially for the rich monas* 
tery of the Canons Regular of S. Salvatore, at Can- 
diani, where he went to work in person, which he would 
not do at any other place ; whilst at this monastery he 
taught the first principles of the art to Don Giulio 
Clovio, who was afterwards reputed to be the best 
miniature painter of his time.' Lanzi calls him the prince 
of miniature painters. Great part of his works were 
painted for sovereigns and princes, in whose libraries 
they may be seen, executed with such surprising truth 

1 Vasari, Vita di Fra Giocondo ed Altri, vol. iii. 

CHAP, n.] MlfflATURE PAINTING. xxxv 

and liveliness, that they appear rather to be reflections 
in a camera obscura than works of art. Some idea of 
the labour of executing these minute pictures may be 
formed from the fact, that one work alone, which he 
illustrated for Cardinal Farnese, with twenty-six sub- 
jects, occupied him during nine years. His works are 
very scarce, but some may be found in the libraries of 
private individuals. The Sloane Library contains a 
MS. illuminated by Don Giulio Clovio. 

Among the miniature painters of the order of St. 
Dominic was P. Alessandro della Spina, who flourished 
during the fourteenth century. Padre Alessandro 
deserves the gratitude of posterity, and of all miniature 
painters especially; for to him we are indebted for 
making known the invention and use of spectacles. 
Indeed P. Marchese attributes the invention * of spec- 
tacles to Padre Alessandro, but the memorial of him 
in the Chronicle of St Katherine, at Pisa, proves that 
he had seen spectacles made by one who would not 
communicate the secret, before he made them himself, 
and that with a cheerful and willing heart he com- 
municated all he knew. The notice in the Chronicle 
runs thus : — 

" Fra Alexander de Spina vir modestus et bonus, 
qusB vidit oculis facta scivit et facere. Ocularia ab alio 
primo facta comunicare nolente, ipse fecit, et omnibus 
comunicavit corde hilari et volente. Cantare, scribere, 
miniare, et omnia scivit quae manus mechanic® valent" ^ 

Another monk and miniature painter of the same 
order, Fra Benedetto, usually called " Bettuccio,** 
deserves remembrance for his brave defence of Giro- 

1 *' Spectacles had been known at Haarlem since the begintiing of the 
14th century, and a monument in the church of Sta. Maria Maggiore, at 
Florence, alludes to Salvinodegli Armati, who died in 1317, as their in- 
ventor (inventore degli occhiali). Some accurate notices of the use of spec- 
tacles by old men appear to have been made in 1299 and 1306." Ilum- 
boldt*8 Rosmos, vol. ii. p. 497. — Is it possible that Padre Marchese can have 
oi'erlooked the monument alluded to by the accurate and scientific Hum- 
boldt? * Memorte de* Pittori, &c. Domenicani, vol. i. p. 177. 

c 2 


lamo Savonarola, when the latter was torn from the 
shelter of his convent of S. Marco, at Florence, to 
meet a cruel and painful death, Fra Pacifico Burla- 
macchi, in his Life of Savonarola, relates that " Fra 
Benedetto armed himself from head to foot, and joined 
the party of the Piagnoni,' to defend a life so dear to 
him ; but Savonarola seeing him, desired him to lay 
down his arms, adding that the professors of religion 
should use spiritual weapons only. When Benedetto 
saw them carrying away his beloved master to prison, 
he entreated to be allowed to follow him. Then Savo- 
narola, turning round to him, said, * Brother Bene- 
detto, I command you by your vow of obedience not to 
follow me, because Brother Domenico and I must die 
for the love of Christ.' At this instant he was torn 
from the sight of his sons, who all wept for him. And 
it was then the ninth hour of the night'* * 

Fra Eustachio, another Dominican monk, was, per- 
haps, one of the greatest miniature painters that Italy 
has produced.' His merits, passed over by historians, 
and especially by Vasari, whom gratitude should have 
prompted to remember him, are recorded by his own 
order. Padre Timoteo Bottonio,* a contemporary of 
Fra Eustachio, relates that when Vasari was writing the 
first edition of his Lives of the Painters, he used to 
come frequently to converse with this old man, who re- 
lated to him many interesting facts concerning the early 
and illustrious artists. A Psalter, exquisitely painted by 
him, still exists in the Convent of S. Marco, at Florence. 
He has been styled the Porta of miniature painting. 

The French miniature painters wefe undoubtedly 
numerous, but a Vasari is still wanting to record their 
merits. The beautiful choral book, painted by Daniel 
d' Aubonne, in 1621, must not be forgotten. This volume 

1 The partisans of Savonarola. 
2 See Marchese, Memorie, &c., vol. i. p. 199. ^ Ibid., p. 202-207. 

4 Annate MSS., vol. ii. p. 303, ann. 1555. 


is preserved in the public library at Rouen ; it is of very 
large size, and the writing and illuminations are exqui- 
sitely beautiful. Daniel was thirty years in completing it. 

Missals and livres d'heures of great beauty are so 
common in all rich libraries, that it is unnecessary to 
particularise any in the present work. 

As a private collection, perhaps there is no single 
volume of greater beauty or value than that belonging 
to Mr. Kogers the poet, whose elegant and correct taste 
is well known. The volume, formed at great expense, 
consists of miniatures from diflerent works and dif- 
ferent countries ; and it is scarcely possible to see more 
exquisite specimens of the art. 

The manner in which these works were executed 
may be collected from the following Treatises: it is 
sufficient to observe that the colours were prepared with 
the greatest care, and that the vehicle was egg, gum, or 
glue. D^Agincourt, however, mentions some minia- 
tures, the colours of which were insoluble in water; 
and Dr. Dibdin,^ in describing the illuminations of a 
MS. of the Codex Justinianus of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, states that on close examination the colours appear 
to have been mixed up with a glossy material not unlike 
oil. These instances appear to have been exceptions to 
the general character of miniatures, the surface of which 
usually does not shine. It will be observed that the shades 
in miniatures were not generally painted with trans- 
parent colours, but that white was mixed with them. 

The parchment or paper on which these MSS. were 
written was usually left white ; but a purple colour was 
sometimes communicated to it, by tinging it with a 
decoction of oricello.* When the tint was dry, the 
letters were written on it with gold or silver. Several 
MSS. of this kind are preserved in the Biblioth^que 
Royale at Paris. 

1 Northern Tour, p. 603. 2 See Bol. MS., p. 474. 




In enumerating the arts of the middte ages, we must 
not omit to mention the beautiM art of working in 
mosaic, the most durable of all the methods of painting 
now ia existence, Domeiiico Ghirlandaio used to say 
that it was the only painting for eternity.' Vasari also 
has a similar remark; he says, with regard to the 
durability of all works composed of colours, there are 
none which resist the action of the winds and waters 
like mosaics.' 

The art of working in mosaic was known to the 
ancients. It was practised by the Byzantine Greeks, 
and appears never to have been entirely lost in Italy. 
Specimens of this art may still be seen at Home and 
at Ravenna, which date from the fourth and filth cen- 

There were various kinds of mosaics." Those in- 
tended for the decoration of vaulted ceilings and other 
elevated parts of buildings, consisted of cubes of coloured 
glass, the older specimens being generally inlaid either 
on a white ground, as in the Romano-Christian school,* 
or on a gold ground, as in the early Christian mosaics 
of the Byzantine school. The mosaics in the church of 
SS. Cosmo and Damiano in the Forum at Rome 
were the work of Roman artists, while the old mosaics 

' Vasari, Life of Domenico Gtiirlandwo. 

■ LifeofGherordo. 

3 For an account of the different kinds of rooewc, and of the process 
employed at Itome, sec Transactions of the Society of Arts, Part I., New 
Series, 1S47. 

* Rio, ie la Vo6aa Chretieune, p. 41. 


in the Apsis ^ of the Basilica of S. Ambrogio, at Milan, 
which are said to be not later than the ninth century ; 
those in ,S. Lorenzo, also in Milan ; those in the Duomo 
of Torcello, reputed to be of the tenth century ; and 
some of the ancient mosaics in the church of S. Marco, 
at Venice, which are of the eleventh century, are re- 
presented to be the work of Byzantine artists. Some of 
the mosaics in the last-mentioned edifice are stated to 
have been actually brought from the East 

It appears that there were in Italy two principal 
schools of mosaic painting, established as early as the 
eleventh century. One of these was formed by the 
Greek artists employed on the church of S. Mark, at 
Venice, from which the Florentine school afterwards 
sprung; the other subsisted in Rome, from an early 
period until the thirteenth century.* Both schools have 
been praised by different authors as superior to all 
others ; Vasari gives the preference to that of Venice, 
while Lanzi considers that the Roman artists excelled 
the Venetians. The Venetian school undoubtedly 
originated in the decoration of the church of S. Mark, 
which afforded for several centuries constant occupation 
to the musaicisti. This church, observes Lanzi, was and 
is an incomparable museum, in which, commencing 
from the eleventh century, may be traced, in the mosaics 
begun by the Greeks and continued by the Italians, the 
gradual progress of design of every period until the 
present day. 

The earliest artists were undoubtedly Greeks, and 
the work appears to have been continued by Greek 
artists and their disciples until about 1250. From that 
time until 1350, Zanetti states' that he was unable to 
find any records of the progress of the work ; but at the 

I Tho Apsis was ako called the Tribune, It was .the semicircular recess 
at the east end of the church. * Lanzi, vol. i. p. 6 n. 

A NoUsde de* Musaici della Chiesa Ducale di S. Marco — Zanetti ^ del la 
Pitiura VeooKiana, p. 661. 

xl INTHODUCTIO^f. [coap. hi. 

last date the doge Andrea Dandolo caused the chapel 
of the Baptistery to be covered with mosaics. The 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries produced many artists, 
the best of whom was Michele Zamboni, who was the 
first to abandon the ancient manner, and to improve 
his design, by studying the works of the best painters 
of his time. Many of the ancient mosaics having 
perished, they were replaced by Zamboni, according to 
the old des^n. The sixteenth century was the golden 
age of mosaic painting at Venice. Among the great 
names of the period may be enumerated Vincente 
Bianchini, more remarkable for his talents than his in- 
tegrity, and his brother Domenico, called II Rosso or 
Bosetto; Alberto Zio, the priest; Marco Luciano 
Bizzo ; the celebrated Francesco Zuccato, the friend of 
Titian, who received his first instructions in painting 
from the father of Zuccato ; Valerio Zuccato, the brother 
of Francesco ; and Giovanni Visentin. 

The distinctions enjoyed by the brothers Zuccati 
excited the envy of the other artists, and when the 
former had completed the pictures from the Apocalypse, 
the quarrels among the rival painters ran so h^h, that 
they reached the ears of the Procuratore Cassiere. A 
process was instituted to discover the truth. The Zuc- 
cati were accused, among other things, of having added 
to the eflfect of their mosaics by painting on certain 
parts, and of having joined the squares badly ; Valerio 
especially was accused of not knowing his business. 
Among the most violent of the accusers was Bartolom- 
meo Bozzo, a former pupil of the Zuccati, who pointed 
out some small campanili, and also some clouds in the 
mosaic of the Apocalypse, which were executed with the 
pencil, and not with coloured glass and stones, as they 
ought to have been, according to the rules of the Pro- 
curatori. The Bianchini supported the accusation of 
Bozzo, and an accidental circumstance gave additional 
weight to the charge against the Zuccati. A mistake 


having been discovered by the latter in the word saasibus^ 
which formed part of the inscription, they had corrected 
the error by affixing to it a small piece of painted paper ; 
and when the mosaic was washed to ascertain whether 
it had been painted or not, the piece of paper was sepa- 
rated, and the Procuratore believed accordingly that some 
deception had been used. He therefore caused several 
persons employed in the church to inquire into the 
affair, and finally he summoned a council of the greatest 
painters of that time, among whom were Titian, Paolo 
Veronese, Tintoretto, and Andrea Schiavone, who de- 
cided that it could not be denied '^ that the pencil had 
been used in some parts, but that when these touches had 
been removed with a sponge and sand, the mosaics were not 
injured by it, but were even considered to be improved." 
Every one praised the design, and the skill of the artists, 
and Titian, especially, defended his friends the Zuccati 
with great warmth, saying that the cartoons ought to be 
examined, to see whether the campanili which had been 
painted were in them as well as in the mosaics ; thinking 
that the degree of blame attached to these masters^ 
depended upon this circumstance. It is doubtful who 
made the cartoons; Valerio asserted that they were 
made by " Messer Tiziano," and that they did not con- 
tain the campanili, and said that if it were necessary he 
would produce them with the outlines pricked, as they 
were. Titian, however, did not acknowledge that these 
cartoons were his work, although he owned having made 
others for the Zuccati. The trial concluded by the 
Zuccati being adjudged to execute again, at their own 
expense, the parts on which the pencil had been em- 
ployed; but this decree was never executed, and the 
painted parts, particularly the small campanili, remain 
to this day.^ 

The dispute concerning the execution of this mosaic 

1 Zanctti, p. 576. 

xHi INTRODUCTION. [chap. iu. 

by the Zuccati led to the examination of the other 
pictures, which had been the work of their rivals ; and 
it was finally concluded unanimously, that the two Bian- 
chini and Bozzo were the best workers in mosaic, but 
that Francesco Zuccato excelled them all in the know- 
ledge of the art, and next to him in skill was Yincente 

The designs for the mosaics executed about this 
period were by the most celebrated painters, Titian, 
Tintoretto, Salviati, Sansovino, Domenico Tintoretto, 
Mafieo Verona, and others; and many of the mu- 
saicisti were so little acquainted with the principles of 
art, that the painters who made the designs were obliged 
to colour as well as draw them, and they were then 
servilely copied by the musaicisti. The Procuratori 
being satisfied by the representations of the professors 
of the bad consequences likely to ensue from the ig- 
norance of the musaicisti, new regulations were made, 
the number of masters employed in St. Mark's 
was reduced, and every one was required, before his 
election, to give a proof of his skill. In order to de- 
termine the respective merits of the rival artists, a design 
representing S. Jerome was made, and Francesco Zuc- 
cato, the two Bianchini, and Bozzo were required to 
copy it in mosaic. Sansovino, Titian, and Paolo Vero- 
nese were the judges, and it was agreed unanimously 
that Zuccato's picture was the best, Gian Antonio 
Bianchini's was next, then that of Bozzo, and Domenico 
Bianchini's was the last, although it was considered the 
most faithful copy of the design. 

Among the later Venetian artists may be enumerated 
Gio. Antonio Marini, Lorenzo Ceccato, Luigi Gaetano, 
Jacopo Pasterinr, and Francesco Turessio ; these worked 
from the designs of Palma Giovane, of Maffeo Verona, 
of Leandro Bassano, Aliense, Padovanino, and others. 
The artistsof the seventeenth century were less celebrated, 
and their works in mosaic executed in the style of that 


period were employed as decorations on new walls only ; 
according to Z^anetti,^ it was decreed in the year 1610, 
that no ancient mosaic should be removed, although the 
work might be Greek, and the style bad; but that 
where the danger of ruin was imminent, the design 
should be copied, and the picture restored exactly as it 
was at first. By this means a complete series of monu- 
ments, unique in their kind, not only in Italy, but in 
all the world, has been preserved to posterity. 

In the middle of the thirteenth century the fame of 
the Greek artists, who were still employed on the 
mosaic decorations of St. Mark's, was spread far and 
wide ; it reached to Florence, where Andrea Tafi then 
practised the art of painting. Andrea, ambitious of 
transmitting his name to posterity, and having greater 
confidence in the durability of the materials than in his 
own talents, prudently determined to adopt the art of 
mosaic painting ; but as the technical part of this art 
was unknown in the north of Italy, he found it necessary 
to go to Venice. While residing in this city, he gained 
the good will of a Greek painter named Apollonio so 
entirely, that he was persuaded not only to teach him 
the art, but to accompany him to Florence, where, in 
the middle of the thirteenth century, he executed, in 
conjunction with Andrea Tafi, some mosaics in the 
Tribune of the old church of S. Giovanni.* Vasari ' 
says that this work was entirely in the Greek manner, 
that the design was rude and without skill, but that the 
mechanical part was well executed, the pieces extremely 
well joined, and the surface even.* He adds, that the 
latter part of the work is much better, or to speak more 
correctly, not so bad as the portions first completed. 
After this, Andrea executed in mosaic, without the 
assistance of Apollonio, a figure of Christ 14 feet high, 

1 Delia Pittnra Veneziana, p. 570 n. 
> Now the Basilica of S. Giovanni Battista — the Battistcro. 
3 Vitadi Andrea Ta6. ^ See also Morrona, Pisa 111 ustrata, vol. i. p. 254. 

Xliv INTRODUCTION. [chai-. iil 

a work which, Vasari says, spread his fame throughout 
Italy. "Andrea was really," observes this author, "very 
happy in living at a time when works of so litde merit 
were so much esteemed." It may be added, that he 
was fortunate in forming so correct an estimate of his 
own powers, as to prefer being the head of a new school 
of painting in the north of Italy, to remaining in the 
obscurity to which his want of skill in design appeared 
to consigQ him. Andrea died in 1294, and his merits 
were recorded in an epitaph preserved by Vasari — 

" Qui ^iace Andrea, ch' opre Icg^adre, e belle 
Fece ia tutta Toscana, ed oia ^ ito 
A fiir vag;o lo R^do delle stelle." 

Contemporary with Andrea was Jacopo da Turrita,' 

or, as he was called ia Siena, Maestro Mino,' a Fran- ■ 

ciscan friar, to whose merits Lanzi says that Vasari did 

not do justice. Perhaps the latter judged from the 

specimens of the works of Jacopo at Florence, which 

were by no means equal to those conducted by him in 

Sta. Maria Maggiore at Rome. Some writers have 

believed that Fra Mino and Tafi both worked ia 

mosaic in the Tribune of the Duomo of Pisa, but 

Prof. Ciampi has shown that this mosaic was not begun 

until 1301, at which time Fra Mino and Tafi were 

no longer living. The mosaic at Pisa, the subject of 

which was a Maesta, was commenced by one Maestro 

Francesco,' assisted by his son Vittorio, Lapo of 

^'"--jnce, Michele, Duccio, Tura, Turetto, Dato, 

I, and others. Francesco either died or aban- 

i the work the same year, and was succeeded as 

Maestro by Cimabue,* under whom worked 

o, Ganaccio, Upechino, and Turetto. The 

iovanni, on the left hand of the Saviour in the 

lari, Vita di Andrea Tafi. Baldinucci, Vite. 

.iToiia, Fisa Illust., vol. i. p. S47. 

mpi, Notizie, &C., p. 144, and Docum. iir. * Ibid., Doc. sivi. 


same design, is said to be the work of Cimabue, who 
however left it incomplete ; and it was, together with 
the figure of the Saviour, finished by Vicino, the pupil 
of Gaddo Gaddi, in 1321. As this is the only work in 
mosaic ascribed to Cimabue, it has been supposed by 
some persons that he merely executed the design. 
The repeated payments, however, to him, on account 
of this work,^ in the books of the Duomo, seem to 
warrant the belief that he actually worked on the 
mosaic. Giotto also exercised . his talents in mosaic 
painting, and the celebrated mosaic called the " Nave 
di Giotto," which was executed for the ancient basilica 
of St. Peter at Kome, attests his eminence in this 
branch of the art.* This work, observes D'Agincourt, 
" by its ingenious and picturesque composition, as well 
as by a more correct design, fixes the epoch of the 
revival of this kind of painting." Kugler says ' that 
the mosaic has so frequently changed its place, and thus 
undergone so many restorations, that the composition 
only can now be considered as belonging to Giotto. 

Gaddo Gaddi was the father of Taddeo Gaddi,* and 
the grandfather of Agnolo, the master of Cennino 
Cennini.* He was the friend of Cimabue and of 
Andrea Tafi; from the example of the former he 
learned to improve his style of design, and from the 
latter he acquired the art of working in mosaic. As 
he united the mechanical skill of Andrea to a better 
taste in design, it will readily be supposed that his 
works were in much request. He executed, in the 
semicircle over the principal door in Sta. Maria del 
Fiore in Florence, the mosaic representing the Corona- 
tion of the Virgin, which, on the authority of Vasari, 

^ Ciampi, Notizie, &c., Doc. xzvi. ; Morrona, Pisa Illust., vol. i. p. 
249 n. ; and see Kugler, Handbook of Psdnting in Italy, p. 32. 
' Vasari, Int., cap. zxix. 
s Handbook of Painting, Italian School, p. 51. 
4 Vasari, Vite di Gaddo, Taddeo, e Agnolo Gaddi. 
ft Cennino Cennini, Trattato. 

xlvi INTRODUCTION. [chap, iii- 

was considered by all masters, foreign as well as native, 
as the finest work of the kind which had ever been seen 
in Italy. He afterwards worked at Borne and at Fisa, 
and died in 1312. 

The secret of working in mosaic was inherited by 
Agnolo, the son of Taddeo,* who in 1346 repaired some 
of the mosaics executed by Andrea Tafi in the roof of 
S. Giovanni at Florence. He fixed the cubes of glass 
so firmly into the ground, with a stucco composed of 
mastic' and wax melted tc^ether, that neither the roof 
nor the vaulting had received any injury from water 
from the period of its completion until the time of 
Vasari. From Agnolo Gaddi the secrets of the art 
were transmitted to Cennino Cenniui, who, in his 
Treatise on Fainting, left them as an heir-loom to 
posterity. That Cennini actually treated on mosaics in 
his work, is related by Vasari ;' but as this subject is not 
mentioned in the MS. published by Tambroni, it was 
considered that Vasari was mistaken, and that he had 
spoken of the MS. without having read it. Subsequent 
researches,* however, have proved that he was right. 
Besides the MS. in the Laurenziana, the Biccardiana 
Library (at Florence) contains a more perfect copy 
made in the sixteenth century, probably soon after the 
year 1500, which contains many things omitted in the 
Vatican MS., among which may be mentioned the arts 
of working in glass and in mosaic. 

It is gratifying to learn that a second edition of this 
highly interesting work will probably be published at 
Florence, which will contain the new passages in the 
MS. of the Biccardiana, and which will be collated 
with both the Florentine MSS. It has been con- 
jectured from the last words of the MS. of Cennini in 

1 Vasari, Vita di Agnolo Gaddi ; Bald., Vitadi Agnolo Gaddi. 
s Bald., Vita di Agnolo Gaddi. Vasari says ** mastrice," which signifies 
cement or glue. 

s Vita di Agnolo Gaddi. * Antologia— Firenze, 1821. 


the Vatican, "Finite libro referamus gratia Christi 
1437 a di 31 di luglio. Ex stincarum f.,"' that 
Cennini was an inmate of the debtors' prison at 
Florence called "Le Stinche," and our sympathies 
were excited on behalf of the patient and religious old 
man, who at an age approaching to eighty could so 
abstract his mind from the adversity into which he had 
fallen, as to compose his Treatise on Fainting during 
his confinement in a prison, and to allow no expressions 
of regret or discontent to escape from his pen. The 
researches, however, of Signer Benci of Florence 
prove that the name of Cennini does not occur in the 
books belonging to the prison of the Stinche in the 
year 1437, or in some of the later years of the four- 
teenth century. The addition of the above-mentioned 
words has been accounted for ^ by the fact that it was 
the custom to employ the prisoners for debt in copying 
MSS. ; and it was conjectured that these words, so 
expressive of the distaste we may suppose a person 
indifferent to the art to have felt on the completion of, 
to him, so irksome a task, were added by the unfor- 
tunate prisoner who copied the MS. afterwards placed 
in the Vatican. If then the date 1437 be that of the 
copy, the original MS. must be older, and perhaps may 
be actually a work of the fourteenth century. 

Many, if not all, of the early Florentine painters 
practised this branch of the art' It is said^ that 
Alesso Baldovinetto spared no pains to discover the 
best method of working in mosaic, and that he would 
never have succeeded in this pursuit, if he had not 

1 These words are wanting in the Riecardiana MS. See Antologia — 
Firenze, 1821. 

> Edinburgh Review, 1847, p. 193. 

s Prof. Ciampi (Notizie, &c., p. 92) says iheMusatcisH called themselves 
painters, and he quotes the inscription on the mosaic by Torriti (or Turrita) 
in the church of S. Giovanni Laterani at Rome :— " Jacobus Torriti pictor 
hoc opus mosayoen fecit." 

4 Vasari, Vita di Alesso Baldovinetto. 

xlviii INTRODUCTION'/ [chap. iir. 

accidentally met with a German who was travelling 
through Florence on his way to Rome. Alesso gave 
this man a lodging, and learned from him the whole 
process, so that he was enabled to set to work with 
confidence, and to execute some figures in mosaic in 
the church of S. Giovanni. This work so increased his 
reputation that he was employed in cleaning the whole 
roof of the edifice, which had been covered with mosaics 
by Andrea Tafi, and was then in want of repair. He 
completed this work also to the satisfaction of his 
employers. Alesso lived to be eighty years old, and 
then feeling the infirmities of age stealing over him, he 
sought a retreat for his declining years in the Hospital 
of S. Paul. It is related that in order to ensure for 
himself a better reception, he took with him to his 
apartments in the hospital a large chest which was 
thought to contain money, and in this belief the officers 
of the hospital treated him with the greatest respect 
and attention. But their disappointment may be 
imagined when, on . opening the chest, after the decease 
of the aged artist, they found nothing but drawings on 
paper, and a small book which taught the art of mak- 
ing the mosaics (pietfe del musaico), the stucco, and 
the method of working. At the present time we should 
have considered this little book a greater treasure than 
the money which was so much desired. The remarks 
of Vasari on this occurrence are highly honourable to 
the venerable old man ; he says, " It was no wonder 
that they did not find money, for Alesso was so boun- 
tiful, that everything he possessed was as much at the 
service of his friends as if it had been their own." 

Alesso taught the art of working in mosaic to Do- 
menico Ghirlandaio, who executed, in conjunction with 
Gherardo, some mosaics in the Duomo of Florence.^ 

The only artists of the early Roman school whose 

Vasari, Vite di Alesso Baldovinetto e Doroenico Ghirlandaio* 


names have descended to posterity are the family of 
Gosmati.^ Adeodati di Cosmo Cosmati worked in 
Sta. Maria Maggiore in 1290, two years after the 
arrival of Giotto in Rome, and probably about the time 
that he was employed upon the " Navicella." Jacopo 
and Giovanni Cosmati also worked in mosaic about 
1299 in Bome, and in the Duomo of Orvieto. It is 
said that these artists were all superior to the Greeks 
employed in S. Mark's at Venice. It is certain, how- 
ever, that much encouragement was given at Rome to 
artists from other parts of Italy, and especially to many 
Florentines. This city was in fact the general ren- 
dezvous of all who were distinguished for more than 
ordinary skill in the arts, as the place where they might 
not only improve themselves in their profession by the 
contemplation and study of works of art, but where 
their talents might meet with encouragement and 
reward. The art of working in mosaic was brought to 
perfection in this city. It became in time the rival of 
painting, not only by the artful combination of various 
coloured stones cemented together, but by means of a 
composition, by which it was possible to produce every 
colour, to emulate every half tint, to represent every 
gradation, every touch, as perfectly as with the pencil.* 
As the building of S. Mark's at Venice called forth all 
the talent of the artists of that period, so the construc- 
tion and decoration of S. Peter's at Rome occasioned 
employment to Roman artists. Natural causes con- 
curred in promoting the cultivation of mosaic painting 
at Rome, for the humidity of S. Peter's was found 
inimical to paintings in oil, and it was considered 
advisable, even in the time of Urban VIII.,* to sub- 
stitute mosaics in the place of paintings in oil. 

The Roman school in mosaics produced Muziani, 

1 Lanzi, vol. i. p. 6 n. ; Ciampi, Notizie, &c., p. 46. 
» Lanzi, vol. ii. p. 230. » Ibid. 

VOL. I. d 

1 INTRODUCTION. [chap. iit. 

Paolo Rossetti, Marcello Frovenzale^ Gio. Batt 
Calandra, a native of Vercelli, by whose discoveries the 
mechanical part of the art was greatly improved, and 
the family of Fabio, who copied in mosaic some of the 
works of Guercino, Domenichino, and Carlo Maratta. 

The earliest document known which gives an account 
of any of the processes of mosaic painting, is the Lucca 
MS. ; but this merely contains some recipes for colour* 
ing the glass of which the work was composed. These 
recipes are repeated in the Mappae Clavicula. The 
Bolognese MS. contains directions for making coloured 
glass, and ^^ Materia Musica ;" and the subject is alluded 
to by Theophilus. The recipes for coloured glass in 
the MS. of Eraclius may also relate to mosaics. 
Neither of these authorities, however, describe the 
stucco in which the mosaic was embedded, nor do they 
speak of any cement for fastening the pieces of glass 
together. The omission has, however, been supplied 
by Yasari,^ who has mentioned the materials employed 
for this purpose. 

According to this author the stucco, which would 
remain in a state fit for working for a period of from 
two to four days according to the weatiier, was com- 
posed of lime, pounded brick, gum tragacanth, and 
white of egg, and it was kept moist by laying wet cloths 
upon it. In the Life of Agnolo Gaddi, Yasari mentions 
that the mosaics of Andrea Tafi in S. Giovanni in 
Florence, having been injured by the penetration of 
damp, were repaired by Agnolo, who employed stucco 
made of mastrice (or mastic according to Baldinucci) 
and wax, and this composition effectually answered the 
purpose of excluding the damp. From the same 
account it also appears that the squares were deeply 
embedded in the stucco and firmly cemented together. 
The repairing of these mosaics also gave the artists 
employed on the work an opportunity of observing that 

1 Intr., cap. zzix. 


the design had been marked out on the stucco with red 
outlines, and that it had been entirely worked on the 
stucco. Prof. Branchi of Pisa thus describes the ground 
in which the before-mentioned mosaics in the Tribune of 
the Duomo of that city were embedded : — " The cement 
or bed of the beautiful mosaic of the Tribune of the 
Duomo of Pisa consists of two thick strata one upon 
the other. The lower stratum^ which is white, tasteless, 
of a texture apparently homogeneous, soluble in acids, 
with liberation of carbonic acid, consisted undoubtedly 
of a mixture of slaked lime and marble dust. Having 
tested the weight of 2 denari (grammi 2-358) with 
acetic acid, there remained only silica and yellow oxide 
of iron, weighing ligr. (grammi 0085). The superior 
stratum in which the parallolopipeds of coloured glass 
were embedded, consisted of a yellowish mixture some- 
what hard, which acquired on lighted charcoal a colour 
that was first grey and then blackish. The same acetic 
acid, to the action of which I exposed an equal quantity 
of this layer as of the lower, dissolved the lime with 
slight ebullition, and left 12^ gr. (grammi 0*613) of a 
substance of a dark-yellow colour, which I found was 
composed of linseed oil dried, and a small portion of 
turpentine, and of other resinous matter. The cement 
of Uie mosaics of the cloisters of the Basilica of S. Paolo 
without the walls at Rome was composed of slaked 
lime and brickdust more or less finely pulverized. It 
was of a flesh colour, unalterable by fire or by exposure 
to the sea wind, and of a taste slightly saline. By 
means of an analysis, sufficiently accurate for the pur- 
pose, I found in the same quantity, namely 2 denari, 
that its constituents were nearly as follows : — 

Denari. Onina. Qnuami. 

Carbonate of lime ^ H (1*3^ 

Pulverized bricks deprived by acetic acid of their cal- 

. careouB parts • • • • . .0 11} (0*072 

Muriate of soda, earthy muriates^ and a little calca- 

. reous sulphate . . • . . 8J (0*433 


Ki INTRODUCTION. [cajiF. ux. 

By these results I have learned, that the grounds of the 
mosaics were not always prepared in the same manner. 
Chambers ^ informs us, that '^ the composition adapted 
to retain the different pieces of glass, consisted of lime, 
and powder of fine bricks, with gum tragacanth and 
white of egg. From the Encyclopedic we learn, that 
anciently the cement of the mosaics was composed of 
white of egg and water, three parts of pulverized bricks, 
and one part of slaked lime, but that the materials 
generally employed, and which were preferable to the 
preceding, were slaked lime, pulverized marble, and 
linseed oil. As this last composition does not differ 
essentially from that which formed the superior layer 
of the Fisan mosaics, it is evident that it was known to 
the most eminent workers in mosaic of the thirteenth 

With regard to the oil and turpentine or other resin 
of which Frof. Branchi found traces in the upper 
stratum of the ground, I may add that notices have been 
found by Frof. Ciampi, in the records of the Duomo of 
Fisa for the year 1303, of payments for oil and tur- 
pentine which belong to the mosaics of the Duomo.* 

1 Diet., Art. Mosaics, in which he mentions those of Pisa. [Note by 
Branchi.] Chambers probably learned this from Vasari (Intr., cap. zxix.), 
who adds travertine to the other ingredients. 

s << Docum 26 Johannes Orlandi coram me Ugolino notario 

recepit a D. Burgundio operario pro pretio librarum 76 olei linseminis ab 

eo, et operato ad operam Magiestatis* que fit in Majori Ecclesia, 

lib. iii. Sol. zviiii Johannes Orlandi sua sponte dixit se habuisse a 

d. Operario libras duas den. pis. pro pi-etio libre viginti novem trementine 
operate ad operam MagiesUtis." Da lib. di am. deir an. 1301 st. pis. dell' 
opera del Duomo di Pisa. 

'' Libras quinquaginta quatuor et solidos decem et octo den. pisanonin 
minutorum pro pretio centinarum quatuor olei linseminis ad operam Ma- 

* By a "Majesty" or "Maestk," is meant a representation of the Virgin or 
SaTiour enthroned. See Mr. Eastlake's * Materials/ &c, p. 170, n. In the pre- 
sent case the maest2i consists of the gigantic figure of the Sayioar seated on a 
throne, and holding in \k\s han4 a book, on which are inscribed the words " Ego 
sum Lux Mundi." On one side is the Virgin, and on the other St John ; these 
figures also are gigantic, and the effect is sai<|l to be most grand and sublime* 
Morrona, Pisa lUust., toI. L p. 247, 249, n. Murray's Guide to North Italy. 



It will be observed that wax does not occur in these 
documents, neither does it appear that it was found by 
Prof. Branchi in his analysis of the ground. From this 
it may be inferred, that it was not used generally, but 
was employed by Agnolo Gaddi merely as a hydrofuge. 
Prof Branchi analysed also some of the glass or 
enamel of which the coloured cubes were composed, for 
the purpose of ascertaining the metals with which they 
were coloured. On this subject he has the following 
observations : — 

"The art of composing the glass and enamels of 
various colours, by uniting them with glass liquefied by 
metallic oxides, is at the present time more extensively 
and perfectly conducted than it was among the ancients. 
Some chemists assert that the use of the oxide of cobalt 
in colouring glass blue was known to the ancient Egyp- 
tians,^ but this opinion, as far as I am aware, has never 
been confirmed by experience. In the observations of 
the Cav. Rossi, on the vase preserved at Genoa under 
the name of the *Sacro Catino,*" &c. (Torino, IS07), 
inserted in the fifth number of the Giornale della 
Society d'Incoraggiamento delle Scienze e delF Arte 

giestatis, et aliarum figurarum que fiunt in Majori Ecclesia, ad rationem 

dcnarioram xxviii. pro qualibet libra Upechinus pictor pro libris 

quadraginta tribus vemicis emptis ab eo ad operum Magiestatis." See also 
Morrona, Pisa Illustr., vol. i. pp. 249, 250, 256. 

1 M. de Brongniart (Traitd des Arts Cdramiques, p. 563) says, that 
having analysed some of the Egyptian blue glass, he found it to contain 
silica, alkali, cobalt, and a small quantity of lime. He also says that the 
Egypdan figurines are coloured blue with copper, and not with cobalt. 

> This was a vessel for a long time supposed to have been formed of a 
single emerald. There is little doubt, however, that it is composed of glass. 
As a work of art its value will scarcely be diminished on this account ; since 
it affords evidence of the perfection to which the art of making and colour- 
ing glass was brought at a very early period ; for this vessel formed part of 
the spoils won at the taking of Cassarea in 1 101. The author of the Hand- 
book for North Italy observes (p. 106), ** The extraordinary perfection of 
the material, as well as the workmanship, roust always cause it to be consi* 
dered as a very remarkable monument, and of remote antiquity. The colour 
is beautiful, the transparency perfect, but a few air-bubbles sufficiently dis- 
close the substance of which it is made." 

Bv INTRODUCTION. [chap. iu. 

etabilita in Milano/ the following passage occurs: — 
^ Sig. Millin infers from the blue glass, that cobalt was 
known to the ancients ; but this was unnecessary, says 
the author, because the oxide of copper, which naturally 
takes a blue colour, was sufficient for this purpose.' I 
have not been able to analyse the blue glass of the two 
works in mosaic above mentioned, because too small 
a quantity was sent me, and because my own private 
occupations did not permit me to devote as much time 
to these experiments as was necessary. I observed, 
however, that in the Roman mosaic and in the frag- 
ments of the Pisan ^ seen by refracted light, the charac- 
teristics pointed out by Bergman which distinguish 
glass coloured with cobalt were entirely wanting. I 
observed also that the last*mentioned glass preserved, 
as it should do, its own colour after being pulverized and 
fiised by the combined action of fire and of a small 
quantity of carbonate of soda ;* whilst that from Rome 
passed to an amethystine colour, which the Pisan glass 
also acquired, although in a less degree, having been 
both pulverized, mixed with carbonate of soda, and 
exposed to the same degree of heat. Having treated 
in the same manner the other enamels of various 
colours and more or less opaque of the mosaic of Pisa, 
I saw that the red passed to a blue colour ; that the 
purple was changed to an amethystine colour, and that 
the black became a transparent yellow glass, on the 
surface of which was an alkaline stratum of a bluish 

1 The blue glass of the mosaic of S. Paolo is transparent ; that of the 
mosuc of Pisa is opaque, and of much greater thickness. [Note by Braochi.] 

* Sig. CIoYCt remarks on this subject, " The blue obtained from an oxide 
of cobalt is the most permanent of all colours ; it is equalljr fine at a low or 
at a great heat/* — Annales du Chimie, Paris, tome zxxir. p. 222. And in 
tome ii. p. 434, of the Dictionnaire Portatile des Arts et des Metiers, Paris, 
1776, is found the following passage : — *' The most permanent colours are, 
the blue from cobalt, which resists without changing the greatest heat of the 
fire ; then the purple from gold, certain reds prepared from iron, &c."-— 
[Note by Branchi.] 


gpreen. Having repeated these last experiments, I 
obtained from the dark green, light green, and purple 
enamels, results differing from the preceding in the 
gradation of colour only. From the red I afterwards 
obtained a transparent glass of yellowish green colour ; 
from the black, a violet or amethystine glass. These 
iterations and anomalies, some of which throw light on 
the nature of the blue glass of the ancients, are to be 
ascribed to the greater or less degree of oxidation of 
the metallic colouring matters." 

It will be interesting to the practical artist to compare 
the recipes for the mosaic glass and enamels in the 
Bolognese MS. with these results of Prof. Branchi's 
researches. In the Fisan mosaics, the red colour 
appears to have been produced from copper, while in 
the MS. it is produced from gold as well as from 
copper. Another variation also occurs in the blue, 
which in the old Fisan and Roman mosaics was pro- 
duced from copper, while in the Bolognese MS. it was 
coloured with " azzurri ultramarini." The green of the 
Fisan mosaic was produced by copper, that of the 
Bolognese MS. by ^^ crocus martis " and salgem. 

The gilding of the mosaics of which the backgrounds 
of the figures were composed was next examined by 
Frofessor Branchi. On this subject he observes:— 
^^ The gilding of the cubes of common glass and enamel 
of these mosaics is very beautiful ; the leaf of gold is 
itself defended by a vitreous varnish, which, although 
not distinguishable on account of its thinness in the 
Fisan mosaic, except by having a shining surface, dif- 
ferent from that of gold, and by the resistance it offers 
to iron tools, to the action of mercury, and nitro-mu- 
riatic acid, is also of such a thickness in the Boman 
mosaic that even the sight of it alone is sufficient to 
remove all doubt. 

" Chambers,^ in speaking of the method of gilding 

1 Dict.| Art. Mosaics. Thb also is from Vasari. 

Ivi INTRODUCTION. [chap. m. 

glass for mosaics, does not mention this varnish. 
* The pieces,' he says, * to be gilded, are moistened 
with gum-water, and the leaves of gold are applied; 
they are then placed at the entrance of the furnace 
until they are hot. By this means the metal remains 
fixed to the glass so firmly that it cannot be detached/ 
In order to varnish the gilded glass and enamels, it is 
very probable that glass or crystal, easily fusible, was 
reduced to an impalpable powder; that this powder 
was distempered with water, or with a solution of gum, 
or of borate of soda or other liquid ; that this mixture 
was spread over the gilded surface, and that finally the 
pieces of glass thus prepared were exposed to a degree 
of heat sufficient to -fuse this fine powder, which, when 
fused, would form the desired varnish/ 

" The gilding by fire on crystal ^ and porcelain is 
much superior in beauty to that of our mosaics. The 
latter, however, besides resisting the above-mentioned 
reagents, appears, as it were, after the lapse of six cen- 
turies, without the slightest alteration, and in the same 
state in which it lefl the hand of the artist. This ob- 
servation, confirmed by so many others, proves that the 
old masters had the stability of their works much at 
heart, and that they wished to preserve them, not only 
for their own sons and grandsons, but also for posterity." 
The method alluded to by Professor Branchi of mixing 

1 Leon Battista Albert! recommends fixing the gold to the glass with cal- 
cined lead (calcinadi piombo), which he says becomes more liquid than any 
kind of glass. Arch., book 6, cap. x. 

3 Kunckely in the additions to the Arte Vetraria of Neri, treats at length 
of gilding with greater or less permanence on glass. For gilding which 
was to be fixed by fire, he recommends tliat the leaves of gold should be 
applied with the solution of borate of soda, or the borax of commerce, or 
with gum and a small quantity of this salt dissolved in a proportionate quan- 
tity of water. By bathing that part of the crystal which is to be gilded with 
a solution of nitro-muriate of gold, mixed with a sufficient quantity of sul- 
phuric acid, and exposing it afterwards to a sufficient degree of heat, a fine 
and permanent gilding is produced, according to the assertion of Struve and 
Exsaquet, Giornale di Torino, tom. ii. part i. [Note by Branchi.] 


pulverized glass with gum-water, and spreading it over 
the gold lea^ and afterwards fusing the glass, appears 
to have been the method followed by Theophilus : while 
the process described by Count Caylus of placing the 
des^ in gold between two plates of glass, and fixing 
the surfaces together by fire, was the method which 
Eraclius says was practised by the Romans, and which 
he describes in Lib. I. cap. v.' 


Another art, allied to mosaic painting, was practised 
in Italy, and was called " Mosaic of wood," " Tarsia** 
or " Tarsie*' work, or " Tarsiatura.'* This consisted in 
representing houses and perspective views of buildings 
by inlaying pieces of wood of various colours and 
shades into panels of walnut wood. 

Vasari* says, that at first this kind of work was 
executed in white and black only ; but Fra Giovanni 
Veronese, who practised it extensively, much improved 
the art by staining the wood with various colours by 
means of waters and tints boiled with penetrating oil, in 
order to produce both light and shadow, with wood of 
various colours, making the lights with the whitest 
pieces of the spindle tree. In order to produce the 
shades, it was the practice of some artists to singe the 
wood by the fire ; while others used oil of sulphur and 
a solution of corrosive sublimate and arsenic. 

St Audemar (No. 165) mentions that saffron was 
used to stain box-wood yellow ; but he does not say to 
what use the wood was put when stained. 

The subjects most proper for Tarsia work are per- 
spective representations of buildings full of windows 
and angular lines, to which force and relief are given 
by means of lights and shades. Vasari speaks rather 
slightingly of this art, and says that it was practised 

1 See pages 187, 188. > Int., cap. xxxi. 

Iviii INTRODUCTION. [chap. m. 

chiefly by those persons who possessed more patience 
than skill in design ; that although he had seen some 
good representations of figures, fruits, and animals, yet 
the work soon became dark, and was always in danger 
of perishing from the worms and by fire. 

Tarsia work was frequently employed in decorating 
the choirs of churches, as well as the backs of the seats 
and the wainscotings. It was also used in the panels 
of doors. The art was cultivated to the greatest extent 
in the Venetian territories, where three Olivetani monks 
were particularly distinguished for their skill. The most 
celebrated of these was Fra Giovanni da Verona, who 
was called to Rome by Pope Julius II. to decorate the 
doors and seats of the Vatican with Tarsia work, the 
designs of which were made by Baffaelle. Fra Damiano 
da Bei^amo, a Dominican monk, attained equal cele- 
brity in this art. So great was his skill that Charles V. 
refused to believe that the Tarsia work executed by 
him in the Area of S. Domenico, at Bologna, really 
consisted of pieces of wood inlaid, but he thought it 
must have been the work of the pencil.^ Nor would he 
be convinced of the fact until part of the stucco was 
removed and a piece of the wood taken out; in re- 
membrance of this circumstance the work was left in 
that state, and has never been repaired. 

The inlaid work in wood of various kinds called 
" Tunbridge ware" is a kind of mosaic, but it cannot 
be compared with the Italian Tarsia work in the deli- 
cate gradations of colour, or the intricacy of the subject 

^ Marchese, Vite de' Pittori, &c. Domenicani, vol. ii. p. 257, 




§ I. Early Histoiy of Painting on Glass in Italy* 

While the history of painting on glass has been studied 
in France and Germany, where it has been illustrated 
by the works of Le Vieil, Langlois, Thibaud, La- 
steyrie, and of Fathers Martin and Cahier, its rise and 
progress in Italy has been but little investigated. A 
sufficient reason for this may perhaps be found in 
. the superiority of the glass painters of France and 
Germany * over those of Italy in all the mechanical 
parts of the art, as well as in the fact that all the 
improvements introduced into this branch of paint- 
ing may be traced to the northern nations, who in 
their turn are represented to have received their first 
instruction from the East* It might be supposed 
from the celebrity of the glass works at Murano, that 
the Venetians would have excelled in this art, but this 
has not been the case ; the art of painting on glass was 
but little practised by them,^ and the glass manufac* 
tured at Murano was found too opaque for this pur- 
pose/ Still the art was occasionally practised in Italy, 
sometimes by native artists, who employed their skill 
either on Venetian glass, or on glass manufactured for 
the purpose by German or French artists, and some- 

1 See Vasari, Int, cap. xxxiu 

t In 687 many Greek workmen went to France, for the purpose of work* 
ing in glass. Filiasi, Saggio suir Antico Commerdo, &c., p. 148, n. 

s The windows of charches in the Venetian territories are usually filled 
with small drcolar panes of colourless glass, about 6 inches in diameter. 

* Vasari, Introduction, cap. xizii. 

Ix INTRODUCTION. [chap. nr. 

times the painted glass was executed entirely by foreign 
artists invited into Italy for this purpose. The designs, 
however, were frequently made by the Italians, who 
excelled the Germans in design and composition. The 
names of but few painters on glass have descended to 
posterity, and this is partly explained by the rule which 
prevailed among the Flemish artists at least, of not 
affixing their names to their works, or of marking them 
with their monograms only. ^ The notices of the 
Italian painters on glass are few and scanty, and have 
never yet been published collectively. It may, there- 
fore, not be uninteresting to give a short account of 
some of the most distinguished painters in this branch 
of the profession. 

History has not preserved the name of the artist who 
executed those glass windows, considered to be the 
earliest of the kind in Italy, which were painted or 
stained by order of Pope Leo III. at Home, a.d. 795 ;* 
neither is it recorded whether they were by a Greek or 
an Italian artist. That they were the work of the 
latter is probable, from the existence of recipes for 
coloured glass in the Lucca MS., published by Mura- 
tori, which was apparently written by an Italian. 

From this time until 1303 '^ no certain notices of 
painting on glass in Italy are found. The archives of 
the House of Savoy show that at this period a sum of 
money was paid to one Johanneto (Giannetto) for 
painting certain windows in the Castle at Chambery.* 

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the art was 

1 See Le Vieil, de la Peinture sur Veire, p. 33. Albert Diirer is an 
exception to this rule ; he is said not only to have written his name on his 
works, but to have added sometimes his portrait also. 

s Mur., Rer. Ital., torn. iii. part i. p. 196, 197. 

' At Altare, a Tillage in the midst of the central range of the Ligurian 
AlpS) glass-works are said to have existed from time immemorial. They 
are reported to have been founded bj some fugitive Gauls. — ^Murray's Hand- 
book for North Italy. 

4 Lcttera dal Vemazza al P. Guglielmo della Valle. Giomale di Pisa, 1794. 


much cultivated in Tuscany, especially by the Gesuati, 
who worked in the Cathedrals of Florence, Arezzo, and 
elsewhere. The names of a few only of these artists 
have survived. The necrology of the Dominicans, in 
the convent of Sta. Maria Novella in Florence, has 
preserved the name of Fra Giacomo di Andrea, a 
Dominican and painter on glass, who flourished during 
this century. ' 

Fra Domenico PoUini, a native of Cagliari in Sar- 
dinia, lived at Pisa during the first half of the fourteenth 
century. The Chronicle of the Convent of Sta. Cathe- 
rine of Pisa thus records his merits : " Frater Dominicus 
Sardus de PoUinis Kallaritanis fuit valde gratiosus et 
probus, soavissime conversationis. Cantabat bene, scri- 
bebat pulcre, et fenestras vitreas operabatur optime." * 

The same Chronicle also eulogizes more copiously 
Fra Michele Pina of Pisa, who is said to have been a 
perfect master in painting on glass, and who painted 
the large window in the church of the Dominicans at 
Pistoia now destroyed, and one in the refectory of the 
convent of Sta. Katherine. He died in 1340. A lay 
Dominican named Andrea painted the window of the 
choir in the same church of Sta. Katherine, as appears 
by his name being at the foot of it' 

The large window in the choir of the church of S. 
Francesco at Pisa was painted in 1340, but the name 
of the artist has not been preserved. This window was 
repaired in 1585 by P. Johanne Antonio Nerucci/ 

Another window in the same church was painted in 
1390 by Jacopo Castelli, of Siena, as is proved by an 
inscription on the glass.^ It appears from these notices 
and from the records of the Duomo that a school of 

1 Marchcse, Vite de' Pittori, &c., Domenicani, vol. i. p. 391. 

« lb., p. 390. 

s Valtancoli) Annali Pisani, vol. i. p. 428. See Marchese, vol. ii. p. 488. 

4 Ciampi, Notizie, &c., p. 116, n. ' Morrona) Pisa lllust., vol. iii. p. 56, 

ft Pisa lUust., vol. iii. p. 60. v 

Ixii INTRODUCTION. [chap. rr. 

painters on glass subsisted in Pisa irom the early part 
of the fourteenth century until 1685, if not later. 
Lunardo, M. Simon e di Domenico of Florence, and 
Bartolomeo da Scarperia, painted, between 1460 and 
1464, the glass for the large windows which sheltered, 
on the sides exposed to the north and to the marine 
winds, the walls of the Campo Santo. The remains 
of the iron employed in fixing the windows may 
still be seen opposite the pictures of Buffalmacco and 

About the same time flourished at Venice one 
Maestro Marco, who painted certain windows in the 
church of S. Francesco at Treviso, " which were well 
executed; for a certain German iriar painted [the 
originals of] all those works formerly in the convent 
(of the Frate Minori) at Venice, and Maestro Marco 
copied and sent them to Treviso.'' This Marco is stated 
to have been living in 1335.* 

In the fifteenth century the notices of painters on 
glass in Italy are more numerous; among those who 
flourished in the first half of this century may be named 
Angioletto da Gubbio, who painted some windows in 
the cathedrals of Orvieto and Siena, and the large 
window in the chapel of S. Ludovico in the Basilica of 
Assisi. The original designs for this window, executed 
in distemper, are preserved in the collection of Conte 
Francesco Ranghiasi Brancaleone in Gubbio.' 

In the beginning of this century flourished a Do* 
minican fi*iar named Ambruogio di Bindo, an excellent 
painter on glass, whose name appears in the archives 
of the Duomo of Siena from 1404 to 1411.* 

1 Ciampi, Notizie, &c., p. 116, n, 

s Zanetti, Nuova Raccolta delle Monete e Zecche d' Italia, vol. iv. 
p. 151, cited by Lanzi, vol. i. p. 151, and by Mr. Eastlake, ' Materials,* &c.y 
p. 90, 91. 

3 Memorie Storiche di Ottaviano .Nelli. Da Luigi Bonfatti. Gubbio, 

4 Marchese, Vitede* Pittori Doroenicani, vol. ii. p. 440. 


Fra Bartolommeo di Pietro di Vanni Aocomandati 
of Perugia painted a beautiful window in the church of 
S. Domenico at Perugia,^ which is said to exceed in 
the dimensions, in the composition, and in the beauty 
of the colouring, every other painted window in Italy, 
with the exception of those by Gulielmo de Marcillat 
in Arezzo. On the lowest compartments of this window 
there is an inscription purporting that the window was 
painted by Fra Bartolommeo in 1411. It has been 
doubted whether the inscription actually belonged to 
the window below which it is placed, but the fact 
appears to be satisfactorily proved by Marchese.* A 
contract for making a glass window in the sacristy of 
the church of the Dominicans proves that Bartolommeo 
was living in 1415. The dates of his birth and death 
are unknown, but he was resident in his convent in 
1370, and was elected superior of it in 1413. 

It is much to be regretted that the annals of the 
convent should have been discontinued (excepting a 
few brief notices) for nearly a century, so that there 
are no means of ascertaining how Fra Bartolommeo ac- 
quired his skill in glass-painting, or where he procured 
llie glass. Even twenty-five years after Bartolommeo 
completed his celebrated work, the glass made in Italy 
was not considered good enough for the windows of the 
Duomo of Florence ; for we read that Lorenzo Ghiberti, 
who delighted greatly in this kind of work, and who 
had undertaken to paint some of the windows in this 
cathedral, having considered how large a quantity of 
glass of the finest workmanship would be required for 
so great a work, and having heard of a native of Tus- 
cany named Francesco Dominici Livi di Gambasso, 
who was then living in the city of Lubeck, and who 
was considered the most eminent master of this art 
then living, determined to recall him with his whole 

1 Marchese, Vite de' Pittori Domenicani, vol. i. p. 393. 
« Ibid., vol. i. p. 391-402. 

Ixiv INTRODUCTION, [chap. ir. 

family to his own country, for the benefit of which he 
might exercise his profession. 

This design was executed ; Livi came to Florence in 
1436, and made the glass, which was all painted by 
Ghiberti, with the exception of one window, which was 
painted by Donatello. Baldinucci proves the truth of 
these facts by an entry in the * Libro di Deliberazione 
de' Signori Operai,' b. 1436, a.c. 8,* which he quotes in 
his Life of Ghiberti, and thus disproves the assertion 
of Vasari, that the glass used for this purpose was Ve- 

In reading the history of Italian art there is nothing 
that strikes the mind more forcibly than that versatility 
and universality of genius for which so many of the 
medieval and cinque-cento artists were distinguished, and 
by which they were enabled to attain so high a degree 
of eminence in all the fine arts. At the present time, 
in which division of labour is the order of the day, the 
exercise of one branch of the arts is considered a suffi- 
cient employment for the mental powers of an artist 
during his whole life. When we remember the long 
period of pupilage through which the Italian artists 
were accustomed to pass, it is not surprising that there 
should have been artists who have succeeded in all 
kinds of painting, as I have mentioned with regard to 
the painters in mosaic and on glass, who frequently 
excelled also in oil and fresco painting; but it does 
appear astonishing that the greatest architect should 
have been, as was firequently the case, not only the 
greatest painter of his time, but the greatest sculptor 
also. Vasari accounts for this fact by saying that 
" design and invention are the father and mother of all 
the arts, and not of one only." There is no doubt that 
he was right, and that the great Italian masters owed 

1 The same document is published in the Carteggio Inedito, toI. ii. 
p. 441. 



their celebrity to their mental endowments, and not 
merely to their practical skill. It is said ^ on the au- 
thority of Lorenzo Ghiberti that Giotto, painter, archi- 
tect, and poet, sculptured some of the subjects in marble 
on his own beautiful campanile at Florence. At a 
later period the great Raphael changed his manner of 
painting after having examined the paintings of Michael 
Angelo, the greatest architect and the greatest sculptor 
of his age. Francia was a goldsmith before he was a 
painter. The genius of Benvenuto Cellini was as con- 
spicuous in the jewelled ornaments he made for the 
pope as in his Perseus. The names of painters who 
have possessed high mathematical attainments are 
numerous. But the most remarkable man among the 
moderns was undoubtedly Lionardo da Vinci, who was 
at once a painter, poet, musician, mathematician, and 
natural philosopher, and, as some say, architect and 
statuary also, whose sagacity anticipated Bacon in de- 
claring tibat experiment should precede theory — who 
had described the camera obscura before it was made 
known by Porta — who wrote on the descent or attrac* 
tion of heavy bodies to the earth forty years before 
Copernicus — whose discoveries in hydraulics preceded 
by a century those of Castelli — and whose observations 
"on flame and air "were made nearly three centuries 
before the modern theory of combustion was promul- 
gated.' Did Lionardo, when he registered these dis- 
coveries in characters that could only be read by 
reflection in a glass, think, like Bacon, that mankind 

-j~ — - — - -- -- - ■ ■ ■ - - 

> Yasari, Vita di Giotto. Lorenzo Ghiberti left a MS., in which he 
gives a short account of ancient and modem painters. The most interest- 
ing parts of this Essay have been published by Cicognara in his Storia di 

s See Amoretti, Memorie Storiche di Lionardo da Vinci, p. 185-142y 
citing Venturi, Essai sur Jes Ouvrages Math6matiques de Leonard da 
Vinci, 1797. See also Humboldt's Kosmos, vol. ii. p. 322, 380, 389, and 
Hallam's Hist, of Literature, vol. i. p. 303, and note. 

VOL. I. e 

Ixvi . INTRODUCTION. . [chap. iv. 

were not at that period sufficiently enlightened to 
profit by his researches into the arcana of nature ? 

Second to Lionardo only in fame, but his equal in 
talent, was Leon Batista Alberti. His genius was 
universal : he was a skilful architect, an accomplished 
painter, sculptor, poet, and musician, a mathematician 
and inventor of optical instruments, an author of trea- 
tises on painting, sculpture, and architecture, and a 
moral and dramatic writer. 

Lorenzo Ghiberti was another of these distinguished 
men. He began his career as a goldsmith, but being 
more partial to the arts of design and sculpture, he 
sometimes practised painting, and sometimes cast small 
bronze figures, which he finished with infinite grace. 
In his maturer years he seems to have occasionally 
worked at all these arts. He painted an apartment for 
Pandolfo Malatesta at Rimini soon after the year 1400. 
In 1439 he made for Pope Eugenius a golden mitre 
which weighed fifteen pounds ; the weight of the pearls 
with which it was decorated was five pounds and a hall^ 
and which, with the other jewels, were estimated at 
30,000 golden ducats. It is said that six of these 
pearls were as large as filberts, and Vasari remarks 
that, to judge fi'om the design, nothing could be ima- 
gined more beautiful than the arrangement of the jewels 
and the variety of the figures and other oniaments. 
But the capo d'opera of Ghiberti was the bronze doors 
of the Baptistery at Florence, one of the finest works of 
the middle ages, and which alone was sufficient to im- 
mortalise the name of Ghiberti. His predilection for 
painting on glass has been already mentioned. Besides 
the windows in the Duomo of Florence, he painted 
others at Arezzo ; but in spite of his precautions to se- 
cure the best kind of glass, it is related that the build- 
ings were too much obscured by these windows, and 
this was undoubtedly Vasari's reason for saying they 


were made of Venetian glass. Lorenzo taught the art 
of painting on glass to Parri Spinello, who introduced 
it into Arezzo.^ 

At Milan during this century the art was practised 
less successfiiUy. It appears from an entry in the 
records of the Duomo, dated November 10, 1449,* that 
a dispute having arisen between Stefano da Fandino, 
the painter, and the authorities on account of some 
window which he had painted, his work was adjudged 
to be so badly executed that the artist was obliged to 
repaint great part of it at his own expense. 

In the Venetian territories painting on glass was 
occasionally practised at this period. In 1473 the 
window of the choir in the south transept of the church 
of SS. Giovanni and Paolo at Venice, and another at 
Murano, were painted by Mocetto from the designs of 

But the most distinguished painter on glass of the 
fifteenth century in Italy was Beato Giacomo da 
Ulmo, a native of Ulm, in Germany. He was born in 
1406, and acquired the art of painting on glass in this 
city. At the age of twenty-five he travelled to Rome, 
where he spenT his time and money in visiting the 
sacred edifices of that city; but finding himself at 
last pennyless, he became a soldier in the service of 
Alphonso of Arragon, king of Naples, and fought in 
the great battle in which the Genoese were victorious, 
and Alphonso lost both his throne and his life. Gia- 
como having served four years in the army, became 
disgusted with the profession, and engaged himself as 
servant to a citizen of Capua. In 1440 or 1441 he 
determined to return to his native land and embrace 

1 Vasari, Vitadi Lorenzo Gbiberti. 

s Memorie de* Pittori, Scultori, e Architctti Milanesi, Opera MS. detl* 
Abate Ant^ Albuzzi, vol. i. This MS. is now in the possession of Co. 
Gaetano Melzi, to whom I am indebted for the loan of it. 

s See Lanad) vol. i. p. 152, and Murray's Hand-book for North Italy, 
p. 354. 


Ixvili INTRODUCTION. [chap. rr. 

once more his aged father. With this view he arrived 
at Bologna, where, praying before the altar of S. Do- 
menico, he felt himself inspired to renounce his earAly 
home, and think only of the heavenly. In the thirty- 
fourth year of his age he entered his noviciate in this 
monastery, where he lived for fifty years a life so holy 
that he obtained the honours of canonization. His 
death took place in 1491. 

With the religious habit Fra Giacomo resumed his 
early occupation of painting on glass. It appears from 
public archives preserved in Bologna, that he painted 
windows in the convent of S. Domenico in 1464 and 
1465; in the library from 1467 until 1472; and the 
last time his name was mentioned was in 1480, when 
he was in his seventy-third year. Some painted glass 
in a window of the first dormitory in this convent has 
been attributed to him ; but it is considered by Bian- 
coni * and by Marchese to be much more ancient — in- 
deed to be the most ancient specimen of painted glass 
in Bologna. 

But the principal works of Fra Giacomo were in the 
church of S. Petronio in Bologna.* It is much to be 
regretted that it cannot now be ascertained what glass 
was painted by him, for the windows in this church 
were the work of several artists, among the best of 
whom was Frate Ambrogino da Soncino, who had been 
pupil of Fra Giacomo for thirty years. Besides the 
glass in S. Petronio, Fra Giacomo is said to have 

1 Guida di Bologna. 

s The colours in the oM glass in S. Petronio are eztremelj yivid — ruby 
red, emerald green, ultramarine blue, and opaque black. The two former 
are transparent, but the blue is semi-opaque, resembling in effect thin plates 
of ultramarine, rather than blue glass. I could imagine the colour was 
produced bjr stirring the ultramarine in powder into glass, as described by 
Suger when speaking of the blue glass for the abbey of S. Denys. In one 
of the windows is another kind of blue, more transparent, but the colour is 
neither so deep nor so pure. — ^^Thb resembles the blue seen in the old 
Venetian coloured glass windows. 


painted several other windows in Bologna, which still 

It appears from an entry in the records of the con- 
vent that Fra Giacomo was assisted in the designs by 
a certain Michele. Bianconi states ^ that the designs 
for some of the windows in S. Petronio were by the 
great Michael Angelo Buonarroti. On considering 
the dates, it will be seen that these designs by Michael 
Angelo could not have been for the windows painted 
by Fra Giacomo, because it does not appear that the 
latter painted after 1480, when Michael Angelo had 
only attained his sixth year. The reputation of Beato 
Giacomo was as great in France as in Italy. He was 
there called " Jacques TAllemand." Le Vieil (p. 34) 
says, "The miracles that were wrought at his tomb 
caused him to be placed among the saints of his order, 
and the company or guild of the master glass-makers, 
painters on glass at Paris, celebrate his fete as their 
second patron on the second Sunday in October.'* 

The discovery of the art of staining glass a trans- 
parent yellow with silver has been by some authors 
ascribed to Van Eyck, but it is attributed with greater 
reason to Fra Giacomo da Ulmo. The discovery is 
said to have originated in an accident Le Vieil (p. 
108) gives the following account of it : — Fra Giacomo 
being one day occupied in placing his glass in the fur- 
nace in order to fix the colours, let fall a silver button 
firom one of his sleeves without perceiving it. The 
button sank into the lime, which is always placed in 
the furnace under the glass. The furnace being closed, 
the enamels melted. The button, or at least a part of 
it, was fused, and it imparted a yellow stain to the 
glass which lay above it, and this yellow stain was 
found to have penetrated into the substance of the 

1 Guidadi Bologna. 

Ixx INTRODUCTION. . [chap. iv. 

Fra Ambrogino da Soncino, the pupil of Giaconio, 
was also an excellent painter on glass, and his works 
may be seen in many churches at Bologna. He died 
in 1517. He wrote the life of his master, Giacomo, 
from which the biographical facts relative to the latter 
have been extracted.* 

Frate Anastasio, also a lay brother of the convent of 
S. Domenico at Bologna, was another pupil of Fra 
Giacomo. He died in 1529, having instructed in his 
art a pupil who left, in a book of Memoranda concern- 
ing the Area of S. Domenico, begun in the year 1521^ 
the following affectionate and pathetic memorial of his 
master : — " After hira (one Fra Petronio, who held the 
office of Archisti, or guardian of the Area, until 1521) 
'came my beloved and dear master and predecessor Frate 
Anastasio, a lay brother, a devout man, a man of God, 
and of our father S. Domenico. Cheerful, of middling 
stature, the beauty of his mind was reflected in that of 
his body ; in him I frequently seemed to behold a 
cherub ; one of his hands was worth my whole body ; 
he had great genius, was most skilful in painting on 
glass, a disciple and imitator of the blessed Giacomo, 
and during the space of eight years he most faithfully, 
most fervently, and most devotedly served with the 
greatest charity and integrity of life, his and our good 
father S. Domenico, and by him he was richly re- 
warded." * 

That affectionate and lasting attachment which so 
frequently subsisted between the master and the pupils, 
and which is a beautiful trait in the character of the 
Italian painters, could only have arisen under their 
system of working together for a long period of years. 
The lengthened term of the apprenticeship, frequently 
extending to twelve years, and the consequent inter- 

1 Marcbese, vol. i. p. 409, 410, 
slbid., p. 411. 


change of benefits given and received by master and 
pupil, frequently gave rise to a friendship as sincere as 
it was affectionate, and which terminated only with the 
death of one of the parties. Thus Taddeo Gaddi, the 
godson and favourite pupil of Giotto, was the disciple 
of the latter for twenty-four years ; Cennini was for 
twelve years the pupil of Agnolo, the son of Taddeo, 
Many other instances are noticed in these pages ; many 
also are recorded by Vasari. 

In the * History of the Duomo of Orvieto ' Mt is 
stated that in 1444 a certain Fra Mariano di Viterbo, 
a Dominican, offered himself to paint the windows of 
the cathedral, and proposed to paint one as a specimen. 
He did so, but his painting was not approved of, and 
D. Gasparro di Volterra, a priest, was then invited to 
paint a specimen. This also was disapproved of^ and 
ultimately the celebrated Benedictine monk D. Fran- 
cesco di Barone Brunacci was selected, who executed 
the work to the satisfaction of all parties. Marchese ^ 
conjectures that he was a pupil of Fra Bartolommeo di 

In the Necrology of the convent of S. Domenico at 
Siena, under the year 1515 is mentioned the name of 
Frater Raphael Peregrini; he is said to have been 
skilfol in painting on glass.^ 

The names of two other professors of this art, Fra 
Cristophano and Fra Bernardo, have been preserved 
in the archives of the Duomo of Arezzo. The contract 
is dated March, 1477', and the colours were to be 
" cotti alfuoco, e non messi a olio'' * 

A similar stipulation is contained in the contract, 
dated August, 1513 (preserved in the same archives), 
relative to the windows to be painted in the cathedral 

» Storia del Duomo di Orvieto, Document Ixviii. p. 71, 
8 Vol. i. p. 413. 3 Id. ibid. 

4 Carteggio Inedito d* Artisti, vol. ii. p. 446. 

Ixxii INTRODUCTION. [chap. rr. 

by Domenicho Pietro Vannis de Pechoris * and Sts^o 
Fabiani Stagii ;* and in another contract, dated April 
25, 1515,* it was stipulated that Domenicho should 
execute certain paintings on good Venetian or German 
glass. The price paid for the last windows was at the 
rate of fourteen " lire piccole " the square braccio.** 
The execution, however, of these works was not such 
as to satisfy the good people of Arezzo, and one M. 
Lodovico Bellichini, a physician, and intimate friend 
of Guglielmo de Marcillat, persuaded the latter, who 
was then resident at Cortona, to visit Arezzo, where 
Stagio had the liberality to invite him to reside in his 

The greatest of all the artists who practised painting 
on glass in Italy was Guglielmo de Marcillat, whose 
name is generally translated William of Marseilles- 
Dr. Gaye, the editor of the *Carteggio Inedito,' has, 
however, discovered his real name and designation in 
a document preserved in the archives belonging to the 
Bishop of Arezzo. He is there • described as " Messer 
Guillelmo de Piero, Franceze, Priore di S. Tibaldo, di 
Sto. Michele, diocesi di Verduno*' (Verdun, in 
France), and he subscribes his name thus : " lo Guil- 
lelmo de Piero de Marcillat" From this Marchese 
(vol. ii. p. 212) thinks that Marcillat was his family- 
name, and Piero that of his father. He was born in 
1475, and acquired the art of painting on glass in 
France. In order to escape the consequence of being 
concerned, with some of his friends, in the death of an 
enemy, he sought refuge in a Dominican convent, 

1 Carteggio Inedito d' Artisti, vol. ii. p. 446. See also Vasari, Life of 
Don Bartolommeo, Abate di S. Cleinenti. 

> Carteggio Inedito, vol. ii. p. 446. Vasari, in the Life of Lazzaro, 
calls this artist Fabiano Sassoli. 

s Carteggio Inedito, vol. ii. p. 449. ^ A braccio is about 23 inches. 

^ Vasari, Vita di Guglielmo de Marcillat, and see Marchese, vol. ii. 
p. 211, &c. 

^ Carteggio Inedito, &c., vol. ii. p. 449. 


where he assumed the habit of the order and continued 
to practise his art. 

About this time Pope Julius the Second commis- 
sioned Bramante to introduce many windows of glass 
into the palace. In reply to the inquiries made by the 
latter for the most excellent among those who practised 
this art, he was informed that these things were done 
in a wonderful manner in France, and he was shown a 
specimen by the French ambassador at the Court of 
Rome, who had for the window of his study a piece 
of white glass, on which was painted a figure with an 
infinite number of colours fixed on the glass by the 
action of fire. Bramante caused an invitation to be 
sent to these French artists, offering them good emolu- 
ment. Claudio, a brother monk, and excellent painter 
on glass, and intimate friend of Guglielmo, persuaded 
the latter to accept the offer, and the two artists set out 
together for Rome, where they were employed by the 
Pope to paint several windows of the palace, which are 
now no longer in existence ; two only remain of those 
painted in Sta. Maria del Popolo. About this time 
his friend Claudio died, leaving him heir to his designs, 
and the implements used in the art ; and Guglielmo 
henceforward worked by himself. From Rome he 
went to Cortona, where he painted the firont of the 
house of Cardinal Passerini, and several windows. 
Leaving Cortona he went to Siena, where he painted 
a window in Sta. Lucia, in the chapel of the Alber- 
gotti, in the bishopric of Arezzo ; " which," says Va- 
sari, " may truly be said to be living figures, and not 
coloured or transparent glass." Some parts of these 
still remain, and the parts deficient are filled up with 
white glass. He also painted three windows in the 
Duomo di Arezzo, as appears by the following con- 
tract,' dated 31 Oct., 1519:— 

1 Carteggio Inedito, vol. ii. p. 449. 

Ixxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap. iv. 

" I signori operai al Vescovado ano alogato a fare 
tre finestre di vetro in Vescovado a Maestro Guglielmo 
di Pietro, franceze, maestro a far finestre di vetro, coi^ 
una finestra sopra la cappella di San Francesco, una 
finestra sopra la cappella di San Matio, una finestra 
sopra la cappella di San Niccolo, per prezzo di lire 15 
per ciascheduno braccio, cotti a fuoco^ non a olioj e 
debale avere finite per tutto Gugno prossimo 1520." 

For each of these windows he received 180 ducats, 
as appears by a record dated 31st Dec^ 1520. 

He also painted a window in the church of the 
Dominicans, for which he would receive no recom- 
pense, "because," he said, "he was much indebted to 
that society," alluding to the shelter and protection the 
Dominicans had formerly afibrded him. 

Besides other windows, he painted several frescoes 
which are still in good preservation ; the design and 
composition of these works are good, but the colouring 
is rather feeble.* 

He lost his life from his too great application to 
fresco painting, which he followed summer and winter ; 
the exhalations from the lime occasioned an illness 
which carried him oflFin a few days, in the year 1537, 
at the age of 62.* 

Many practical details relative to painting on glass 
are given in the Life of Guglielmo by Vasari, who 
united to his other attainments a knowledge of this art. 
Vasari attributes to Guglielmo de Marcillat the honour 
of having carried the art of painting on glass to per- 
fection in Tuscany. He particularly eulogizes the 
skill of Guglielmo in the arrangement of the colours, 
whereby the most forcible colours were employed for 
the figures in the foreground, while the darker colours 
were reserved for the more distant objects. He praises 
also his invention and composition, and the great skill 

i Marchese, vol. ii. p. 223. 

2 Vasari; Vita de Guglielmo dc Marcillat. 


with which he arranged the joinings of the lead and 
iron, which he disposed in such a manner in the joints 
of the figures, and the folds of the draperies, that they 
were scarcely visible, and even imparted to the figures 
a grace which could not be exceeded by the pencil. 
Vasari mentions more than once the great dexterity of 
Guglielmo in applying diflerent colours to the same 
piece of glass by grinding away the coloured surfaces, 
so as to leave the white glass, to which another colour 
was afterwards given ; and he informs us that the 
Gesuati of Florence, by whom this art was much cul- 
tivated, having obtained possession of a window painted 
by Guglielmo, took it to pieces in order to ascertain 
how it was put together, and removed and experi- 
mented on many of the pieces of glass, which they 
replaced by new ones. 

Guglielmo left the materials belonging to the art to 
Pastorino da Siena, his assistant, who had worked for 
him many years/ Pastorino painted in 1549 the 
beautiful round or rose window (occhio) in the Duomo 
of Siena, and others in St. Peter's at Rome. He 
usually worked from the designs of Pierino del Vaga. 

Maso Porro, of Cortona, who was more skilful in 
joining and in burning the glass than in painting, and 
Battista Borro, of Arezzo, were also pupils of Gugli- 
elmo de Marcillat The latter taught the art to 
Benedetto Spadari and Giorgio Vasari, the biographer 
of the painters. 

To these artists may be added Gondrate, who in 
1574 painted a window in the Duomo of Parma, from 
a design by Lattanzio Gambara. 

The first glass furnace was introduced into Rimini 
in 1551 by Geminiano da Modena, whose sons becanie 
excellent painters on glass.^ 

1 Vasari, Life of Guglielmo ; Bald., Vite, Dec. iv. Part i. del Sec. iv. 
^ Yedriani, Fittori Modcnesi, p. 86. 

Ixxvi INTRODUCTION. [chap. iv. 

§ 2. On Windows. 

We have been so long accustomed to see glass win- 
dows in our houses, that few, perhaps, except antiquaries 
and archaeologists, have ever inquired whether they were 
possessed by our ancestors. It may not, therefore, 
be deemed uninteresting to relate briefly a few facts 
relative to this subject, gleaned from history and 

There is reason to believe ^ that glass windows were 
employed occasionally in ecclesiastical buildings during 
the early centuries of the Christian era ; but the prac- 
tice was by no means universal, and the most ancient 
glass windows mentioned to have been constructed in 
Italy were those ordered by Pope Leo the Third in 
the eighth century ^ at Rome. The windows of some 
sacred edifices were closed with valves, or shutters of 
stone, like those of the Duomo of Torcello' erected in 
1008. Others were filled with slabs of a transparent 
kind of talc or alabaster.* The only example now 
known to exist of this kind of window is in the church 
of St Miniato at Florence, built in the commencement 
of the eleventh century, under the Emperor Henry 
and his wife Cunegonda. The windows, five in num- 
ber, are in the apsis, and are each filled with a single 
slab, formed of a kind of transparent alabaster, or 
marble, called by the Italians "fengite."* The effect 
of these windows is singular. When illuminated by 
the morning sun, they appear shining with a cloudy 
roseate light^ 

» See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 185. 

2 Coloured glass is mentioned in the Lucca MS., which is said to be of 
this century. 

8 The windows are now glazed, but this is thought to be a later addition. 
* Vasari, Ipt, cap. xxxii. ^ Fantozzi, Guida di Firenze, p. 770. 

< Murray's Guide to North Italy, p. 583. 


Bede relates that glass was brought to England, a.d» 
674, by certain ecclesiastics for the purpose of deco- 
rating the churches then erecting in this country ; but 
although makers of glass were brought to England at 
the same time, the progress of the art in this country 
must have been inconsiderable, since Matthew Paris 
relates that, in the reign of Henry the Third, a few 
churches only had glass windows. In 1135> glazed 
frames, called "verrinee,*' were made for the windows 
in the chapel and hall of Winchester, and in some of 
the chambers.' The earliest painted glass in York 
Cathedral was painted about 1200. This slowness of 
progress must, however, have been the effect of want 
of encouragement rather than of want of ability, for 
in 11 53 the Queen of England sent a present of a 
painting on glass to the Comte de Dreux, and his 
third wife, the Comtesse of Braine, in Normandy.* 
The beauty of the early English painted glass is evi- 
dent fipom the windows of Lincoln Cathedral : some of 
these, which are remarkable for the brilliancy of the 
colours, were executed in 1220. 

In France the art must have been extensively cul- 
tivated. A great many churches were erected during 
the eleventh century, and Le Vieil considers that the 
art of painting on glass, properly so called, arose in 
France about this period. In the twelfth century 
Suger adorned the Abbey of St. Denys with painted 
windows, and his example was followed in most of the 
churches newly erected. 

The use of glass windows in private houses was 

^ Archseological Journal for 1845, p. 54. 

» Le Vieil (de la Peinture sur Verre, p. 24), quoting the Chartularium 
of the Abbey, and the Index Coenobiorum Ordinis Prsemonstratensis. 
According to Lavoisne, Matilda of Boulogne, wife of Stephen, died in 
1162, consequently there was no Queen of England in 1153. The 
window, however, might have been ordered to be painted some years 
previously, and perhaps was not completed and fixed in its destined place 
until 1153. 

Ixxviii INTRODUCTION. [chap. iv. 

extremely limited during the middle ages. In France 
it was not employed until the fourteenth century.* 
At the close of this century, however, and the begin- 
ning of the next,* several windows were painted for the 
hotel of the Duke of Orleans in the Rue de la Poterne 
lez Saints Pol, at Paris. It may be interesting to 
know that the price paid for this painted glass varied 
from four to eight Parisian sous the foot. In the 
document which contains an account of these windows, 
there is also a charge for " taking down, washing, and 
replacing several panes of glass, painted and reco- 
loured, in the chamber of Louis Monseigneur de 
Bourbon." This makes it probable that the glass had 
been fixed in the windows for some time, since it had 
become necessary to wash and recolour it. It also 
suggests the idea that these paintings were not executed 
with enamel or vitrified colours, which would not have 
required recolouring, but probably with pigments mixed 
with egg or oil. 

It appears firom recent archaeological researches that 
many of the royal residences in England had glazed 
windows in the thirteenth century. In the twentieth 
year of the reign of Henry the Third (1235-6), the 
windows of the chapel and hall of Winchester, and 
some of the chambers, were glazed.^ The accounts of 
Rockingham Castle for the year 1279 also contain 
an entry of payment " for glazing the windows, 5^."^ 
It is probable that the dwellings of the nobility were 
furnished with glass windows in the fourteenth century, 

I Ilallam^s Midd. Ages, vol. iii. p. 425. 

8 Between 1399 and 1429. See < Louis et Charles, Dues d'Orl^ns, 
leur Influence sur les Arts, la Litt^rature, et TEsprit de leur Si^cle, d'apr^ 
les Documents Originaux et les Peintures des Manuscrits. Par Aim^ 
Champollion-Figeac (de la Biblioth^que Royalo). Paris, 1844.' This 
extremely interesting publication is very scarce, the work having been sup- 

3 Archaeological Journal for 1845, p. 64, 74. 

* Ibid., Jan. 1845, p. 370. 

CHAP, rvj WINDOWS. Ixxix 

since they are mentioned in a description of the inte- 
rior of a castle in a MS. of the fifteenth century ^ (in 
the public library at Cambridge), containing the metri- 
cal romance of Sir Degrevant : — 

" Square windows of glas 
The richest that ever was, 
The moynells (muUions) was off bras, 
Made with menne handes." 

Glass, however, was not in common use in England 
until the reign of Henry the Eighth f but it appears 
to have been employed for windows in Vienna during 
the fifteenth century. JEneas Sylvius mentions that 
the houses in that city had glass windows and iron 

During the middle ages, glass windows, instead of 
being aflBxed to the buildings, were frequently fastened 
into wooden frames ; they were considered as moveable 
fiirniture, and were removed with the other eflects of 
families when they travelled. Upon the arrival of the 
family at the mansion, the glazed frames, or verrinae, 
were placed in the windows, where they remained 
during the residence of the family, and on their depar- 
ture they were taken out and laid by carefully.* A 
passage in Yasari's Life of Guglielmo de Marcillat 
proves that this custom of using moveable windows pre- 
vailed in France and Italy until the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. Vasari says that at this period Pope 
Julius the Second commissioned Bramante of Urbino 
to make many glazed windows in the palace ; and while 
the latter was making inquiries for persons skilled in 
this art, he was shown a specimen of one belonging to 
the French ambassador at the Papal court. This, 
which he had used for the window of his study, con- 

1 Arch, Journ., Sept 1844. 

' Hallam's Midd. Ages, vol. iii. p. 425. ' Ibid. 

* Northumberland Household Book, Preface, p. 16, quoted in Hallam's 
Midd. Ages, vol. iii. p. 425. 

Ixxx INTRODUCTION. [chap. iv. 

sisted of a piece of white glass fixed in a frame (telaro), 
on which was painted a figure with an infinite variety 
of colours burnt in by the action of fire. 

It must not, however, be inferred, because the glasses 
were moveable, that the windows of houses were destitute 
of any protection firom the weather. The Bolognese 
MS.* describes no less than three contrivances for ex- 
cluding the air, softening the light, and concealing the 
inmates of the houses from the gaze of passengers in 
the streets. The three methods described in this MS. 
were probably for the windows of the nobility, for it is 
unlikely that private individuals would incur the ex- 
pense of painting these substitutes for glass in the 
manner described. The first substitute was thin parch- 
ment stretched on a frame, and afterwards painted and 
varnished; the second consisted also of parchment, 
painted as before, but instead of varnish, a coat of 
linseed oil was applied to make it transparent; the 
third consisted of linen, stretched on a fi*ame, and then 
painted. When dry, a coat of white of egg and gum 
water was applied, and it was then varnished. It is 
not at all improbable that some of the early trans- 
parent paintings executed in Germany, France, and 
England, may have been intended, and used occasion- 
ally, instead of glass for windows. 

In France, paper was much employed as a substitute 
for glass in domestic architecture even at a late period. 
Le Vieil * devotes a chapter of his work to this subject 
He says that at the close of the seventeenth century, 
the persons whose business it was to fix the paper in 
the windows were called " chassissiers," and the glazier 
who repaired or cleaned the glazed windows on the 
inside of the apartments of the palace and its de- 
pendences left to the chassissier the care of renewing 
the double windows of paper. From this it seems 

""' " "" -^ ■■ ■ »— ■■■!■ ■— —■■ ■■■— ■■■■ »». - ..iil».l , mm — — 

1 No8. 214, 215, 216. > De la Peinture sur Yerre, p. 235. 


probable that glass windows were limited to the habita- 
tions of the higher ranks, and that these windows were 
further defended with other windows, the frames of 
which were filled with paper. In Le Vieil's time these 
paper windows were found only in the studios of 
painters and engravers, who found them useful in 
diminishing the noise from the street. The light which 
passed through them was more equal, and less fatiguing 
to the sight. He adds there was no place of study or 
religious community, the windows of which were not 
defended by double casements filled with paper : these 
had also the additional recommendation of affording an 
obstacle to the indiscretion and curiosity of those 
within, as well as without. At Lyons they were used 
constantly in the time of Le Vieil in the silk manu- 
factories, where they were found to yield a more 
uniform light than glass. In France, the paper, after 
being fixed in the windows, was made transparent by 
the application of poppy oil, or mutton suet, instead of 
which some persons whose olfactory nerves were more 
susceptible, employed wax. Paper windows being con- 
stantly exposed to the rain, the sun, and the wind, 
required to be renewed annually, and were conse- 
quently found more expensive than glass ; this perhaps 
was a principal cause of their falling into disuse. 

These paper windows may still be seen in many 
villages in the north of Italy. 

§ 3. Various Methods of Painting on Glass. 

The origin of painting on glass, properly so called, is 
involved in obscurity. Le Vieil, as has been before 
observed, attributes it to the French in the eleventh 
century. It appears certain, however, that it was 
known and practised at Constantinople in the preceding 
century. Perhaps the earliest historical notice yet 
recorded of painting on glass, is the portrait of Con- 

VOL. I. / 

Ixxxii INTRODUCTION. [chap. it. 

stautine VII., which the Arab historian, Ibn Hayyan, 
states was presented by the ambassadors of that Prince 
in 949 to Abdurrahman at Cordova. Ibn Hayyan 
relates that the ambassadors of Constantine, son of Lieo, 
Lord of Constantinah the Great (Constantinople), pre- 
sented to the Moorish prince a letter, of which he gives 
the following description: — 

" It was written on sky-blue paper, and the charac- 
ters were of gold. Within the letter was an enclosure, 
the ground of which was sky-blue like the first, but the 
characters were of silver; it was likewise written in 
Greek, and contained a list of the presents which the 
Lord of Constantinah sent to the Khalif ; on the letter 
was a seal of gold of the weight of four mithkals, on 
one side of which was a likeness of the Messiah, and on 
the other those of King Constantine and his son. The 
letter was enclosed in a bag of silver cloth, over which 
was a case of gold, with a portrait of King Constantine 
admirably executed on stained glass. All this was en- 
closed in a case covered with cloth of silk and gold 
tissue. On the first line of the Inwan or introduction 
was written, ^Constantine and Romanin (Bomanus), 
believers in the Messiah, kings of the Greeks ;' and in 
the next, ^To the great and exalted in dignity and 
power, as he most deserves, the noble in descent, Ab- 
durrahman the khalif, who rules over the Arabs of 
Andalus ; may God preserve his life ! ' " * 

In the absence of all information relative to the man- 
ner in which this portrait was painted, conjectures must 
be useless; it is sufficient for the present purpose to 

1 The description of Ibn Hayyan is quoted by the Arab historian, Al 
Makkari, in his History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain. The 
work has been translated, with critical Notes, by Pascual de Gayangos, late 
Professor of Arabic in the Athcnseum of Madrid. Printed for the Oriental 
Translation Fund, 2 vols. 4to. 1840.43. See Blackwood's Mag., vol. 54, 
p. 442, where the account of the visit of the ambassadors to Abdurrahman 
is given at length. 


establish the fact that iC portrait was actually painted on 
glass at Constantinople and sent to Spain as early as the 
year 949. 

It is generally considered that the earliest glazed 
windows were filled with stained glass/ for it is said to 
require more skill to make colourless glass than to tinge it 
with some of the ordinary colours. The pieces of stained 
glass of which the early windows were composed were 
small, and they were arranged in a kind of mosaic 
pattern. The next improvement consisted in forming 
pieces of stained glass into figures, the outlines and 
strong shades of which were afterwards formed with 
black,* and fixed by the heat of the furnace. This 
kind of semi-painting afterwards gave place to painting 
on glass, properly so called. This was executed in 
various ways. The colours were sometimes diluted with 
white of egg,' and sometimes mixed with oil, and then 
varnished/ But as it Vas found that in both kinds of 
painting, the colours were affected by the weather, a 
new plan was adopted of employing vitrified colours or 
enamels, which were applied to the glass with gum 
water, and then fixed by burning them into the glass in 
the fiimace. This method of painting is described by 
Eraclius and Theophilus. The invention is generally 
ascribed to the Flemings or Germans. It is quite 
certain that Italy was supplied with these coloured 
glasses or ^^smalti"*^ by some transalpine nation; the 
Marciana MS. states that they were brought from 


1 See Tbeoph.y £. £d., lib, ii. cap. xxiz. 

* The black used for this purpose is described by Eraclius, Lib. ii. No. 
20, Lib. ill. No6. 8 and 49 ; the MS. of the Marciana, No. 325 ; Bulcngc- 
ms de Pictura, &c. 

s See Marciana MS., p. 615. 

4 Ibid. See also the Padoan MS., p. 693. 

^ The smalti of the modem Italians consist of pieces of glass, about ^ an 
inch thick, and 6 or 8 inches in diameter. 

A See the Marciana MS., p. 617. 


Ixxxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap. iv. 

The method of painting on glass practised by Gu- 
glielmo de Marcillat and his pupils has been described 
by Vasari. The following is a condensed account of it 

To produce a good picture on glass, three things were 
considered necessary, namely, a luminous transparency 
in the glass selected, good composition, and brilliant 
colouring without confusion. Transparency was to be 
secured by selecting the clearest glass, and in this 
respect the French, English, and Flemish glass was 
preferable to the Venetian ; for the former was very 
clear, whilst the latter was dark; "and,** observes 
Vasari, " when clear glass is shaded, the light is not 
totally lost, but appears through the shadows; but 
Venetian glass, being naturally dark, and being made 
still darker by the shadows, loses its transparency. 
Many persons delight in loading the colours artificially 
applied upon the surface, which being exposed to the 
sun and air, appear more beautiful than the natural 
colours ; it is better, however, that the glass should be 
light rather than dark, that it may not be rendered 
opaque by the thickness of the colour." 
. To paint on glass it is necessary to be provided with 
a cartoon, on which are drawn the outlines of the figure, 
and of the folds of the drapery, which will serve as a 
guide in joining the glass. The various pieces of red, 
yellow, blue, and white glass are then arranged in their 
places as required ; and in order to reduce each piece 
to the form and size indicated by the cartoon, the 
pieces are laid upon the cartoon and the outline marked 
with a pencil fiill of white lead, and a number is affixed 
to each piece in order to find its place more readily 
when uniting the various fragments. These numbers 
are obliterated when the painting is finished. This, 
being done, the pieces of glass must be cut according 
to the form and size required; for this purpose, the 
point of an emerald must be drawn along the part to be 
cut, and the division must be completed by passing a 


pointed piece of hot iron over the outline (which is to 
be first moistened with saliva), being careful not to go 
too near to it. The superfluous glass is then to be 
removed with the emerald,* and the pieces of glass 
reduced to the exact size and shape, by filing them with 
an iron tool called " grisatoio " or ** topo," until they 
fit together accurately. The cartoon being laid on a 
table, and the pieces of glass thus fitted and laid upon 
it, the shades of the drapery must be painted with 
scales of iron ground, and another sort of red rust found 
in iron mines, or the hard red haematite ground, and 
with this the flesh is shaded, using more or less red or 
black as required.^ But in painting flesh, the glass 
should be previously covered with a coat of this red, 
and the drapery should be painted with the black, in 
the same manner tempering the colour with gum, and 
painting and shading it by degrees until it resembles 
the cartoon. The painting being completed, in order 
to produce the high lights, a short and thin pencil of 
bristles, with which the colour is removed from the 
lights, is necessary. The high lights in the beards, 
hair, draperies, casements, and landscapes are to be 
produced by marking them out with the handle of the 
brush. There are, however, many diflSculties in ex- 
ercising this art, and he who delights in it may lay 
various colours on the glass ; for if it be required to 
paint on a red ground a leaf or other small object, 
which, after being in the furnace, should become of 
another colour, the surface of the painted glass may be 
ground away within the outlines of the leaf with the 

' ^ It 18 evident, from the Bolognese MS., p. 495, that the diamond was 
used for cutting glass long previous to the time of Vasari, It appears, how- 
BTer, not to have been used for this purpose in France until the time of 
Francis I. (if the story related hy Le Vieil be true), and this will account 
for the emerald being used by Guglielmo de Marcillat and his pupils. 

2 In addition to the haematite, Guglielmo de Marcillat is said to havo 
.used for the flesh, scales of copper (scaglia di rame). 

Ixxxvi INTRODUCnON^ [chaf. it. 

iron point, which removes the surface of the glass ; for 
hy so doing, the glass remains white, and that red 
colour (composed of several mixtures), which, when 
ftised by heat becomes yellow, is applied to it* And 
this may be done with all the colours, but yellow 
is better when applied over white than over otJier 
colours ; but when blue is laid on it, it becomes green 
by the application of heat, because yellow and blue 
mixed, make green« This yellow colour* can be used 
only on the back of the painting, because by iusing, it 
would spoil and unite with that colour, which being 
heated remains red on the surface, but which being 
rasped away with an iron, leaves the yellow visible. 
The pieces of glass being painted, they should be placed 
in a muffle or coffin, on a layer of sifted ashes mixed 
with burnt lime, then another layer of glass, and another 
of ashes, until all the glass is disposed of; the whole is 
then to be placed in the furnace, and heated gradually 
by a slow fire, until the colours are fused and become 
fixed to the glass. This burning in of the colours re- 
quires the greatest caution, for if the heat be too great 
it will cause the glass to crack, and if insufficient it 
will not fix the colours. Neither should the glass be 
withdrawn, until by repeated trials it is ascertained that 
the iron coffin and the ashes are red hot, and that the 
colours are fused. 

The windows of the Duomo of Milan were once filled 
with painted glass of the greatest brilliancy ; much still 
remains, but a great quantity was destroyed by the 
French, who it is said, on some occasion of rejoicing, 

1 From this description it is apparent that the colours were ** flashed '* 
on the colourless glass. This is said to have been the case with the red 
glass which was found among the ruins of old St. Paul's in London. See 
Bojle's Philosophical Essays, vol. i. p. 458. 

2 In the Life of Guglielmo de Marciliat, this is said to becaicioed silver. 


placed cannon in the piazza immediately under the 
windows, which were shattered by the discharge/ 

The restoration of the painted glass has however been 
undertaken by the Austrian Government, and several 
of the windows, including those very large ones in the 
apsis, have again been filled with glass painted in the 
vicinity of Milan. 

The original windows were painted in the ancient 
manner, in a kind of mosaic of coloured glass ; the 
result was a picture of the utmost brilliancy. The 
modern glass is painted with coloured ^^ smalti " mixed 
with some flux which accelerates the fusion and fixes 
them firmly to the plate of glass before it melts.' 

§ 4. Of the various Uses to which Glass was applied. 

Another important application of glass was in the 
composition of factitious gems, which appear to have 
been made, not for the purpose of personal decoration, 
but for adorning covers of sacred books, reliquaries,' 
and pictures of the Virgin and saints. It is not, there- 
fore, surprising that so many recipes of this kind should 
occur in MSS. belonging to convents. Bibles and 
psalters were frequently bound in ivory covers, beauti- 
fully carved, and inlaid with artificial gems, the surfaces 
of which are always smooth, from their having been 
formed in moulds, and not cut. Sometimes the covers 
of books were of silver, or silver-gilt ; sometimes they 
were solid, and carved in relief; sometimes they con- 
sisted of a sort of filigree-work in silver, over crimson 
velvet ; and sometimes they were covered with velvet, 

1 Murray's Guide for North Italy. 

■ Dizionario delle Invcnzione e Scoperte nelle Arti, nelle Scionze, &c., 
Milano, 1830. Art Pittura. 

3 A reliquary of brass gilt, set with false stones, was exhibited by Mr. 
Way at the meeting of the Archaeological Institute at Winchester, in 1846. 
It was of the Uth century, and was orFrench workmunahip. 


and strengthened and ornamented with silver or gold 

The application of factitious gems to pictures was 
common. They are expressly mentioned by Cennini, 
who describes the method of attaching them to the 
pictures ; and they may be frequently seen on paint- 
ings executed in Italy during the middle ages. The 
most remarkable picture decorated with these gems 
is one by Carlo Crivelli, in the gallery of Brera, 
at Milan. The picture Is highly interesting, not only 
on this account, but because several portions of it are 
in relief. It is not less remarkable for the extreme 
brilliancy of the colours, which are as bright as if just 
painted. The picture is divided into three compart- 
ments. The centre .contains the Virgin and Child ; on 
the right hand are St. Peter and St. Dominic ; and on 
the left St. Peter Martyr and St. Geminiano. The 
surface of each compartment is slightly convex, rising 
about one inch or one inch and a half in the centre 
of each compartment; it is quite perfect, without a 
flaw of any kind. The figures are placed on a gold 
ground. St. Peter has on his head the papal crown, 
the gilded ornaments of which are in high relief; 
and it is set with precious stones, or rather imitations 
of such. The keys are in his hand, and these are 
actually modelled, the stem-part of the keys being quite 
round, and merely attached by a small part of the 
surface to the picture ; the other key lies on this, so 
that here the relief must be at least one inch and a 
half. The keys are gilded. The mantle of the Virgin 
is fastened with a gold or gilt ornament, in which a 
sapphire is set The drapery of St. Geminiano is 
painted to represent crimson velvet, on which is a 
collar of gold, set with real or factitious pearls, some 
of which having dropped ofl^ show small holes made 
in the panel to receive them. 

The picture by the same* artist, placed next to this in 


the same gallery, is, in some respects, a codtrast to it. 
The colours are as brilliant as those in the former 
picture, and the ground also is of gold ; but the glories, 
instead of being in relief, are indented, and the jewels, 
with which the mitre is decorated, are painted, instead 
of being actually affixed to the picture. The artist has 
given as much transparency and brilliancy to these as 
if they were actually inlaid, like those in the picture 
above mentioned. The period of the birth of Crivelli 
is unknown, but he was living in 1476. 

Sacramental cups, both of metal and of glass, were 
also frequently set with gems, real or factitious ; hence 
the directions given in old MSS. for cements for gems. 
It is certain that glass was in use in Italy for drinking- 
vessels in the first half of the fifteenth century. Glass 
drinking-vessels are frequently mentioned by Cennini, 
who calls them by the name by which they are still 
known in Italy — bicchieri* Kepresentations of them, 
of the same shape as those now in use, may be seen 
in early Italian pictures of the Last Supper, and- 
particularly in the Cenacolo of Lionardo da Vinci. 
Glass vessels were frequently embossed, or enamelled, 
with the armorial bearings of their owners, some- 
times parcel gilt, sometimes set with jewels, and 
occasionally they bore designs of high pretension.^ 
The museum of antiquities of the middle ages in the 
Louvre, and in the Hotel de Cluny, at Paris, afford 
many interesting specimens of glass of the middle ages, 
enriched with enamels and jewels. The drinking- 
vessels and flasks, executed at Murano, were particu- 
larly esteemed. Many beautiful specimens of the latter 
are in the possession of the Marquess Trivulzio, at 

It is generally considered that the art of colouring 
glass was introduced from the East into Venice. The 

I Arch. Joura., Sept., 1845, p. 264. 

XC INTRODUCTION. [chap, it, 

time of its introduction is uncertain, but it is known 
that as early as the commencement of the twelfth 
century the manufacture of what is called crystal^ and 
the art of colouring glass, were carried on at Venice.^ 
The mirrors and other works executed in glass in this 
city were, during the middle ages, the finest works of 
the kind ; and the fiasks and other small articles were 
much sought after, not only in Europe, but also in 
Asia, and even in the deserts of Africa,* Murano 
was, during four or five centuries, the seat of this 
manufacture, which the Venetians knew how to vary 
according to the taste of the times, and for which they 
found a ready market in the countries of the East. 
As long ago as 1275 there was a law mentioned in the 
Chronicle of Dandolo, which prohibited the exportation, 
not only of sand and the other substances used in the 
fabrication of glass from Venice, but also of the frag- 
ments of broken glass, which other nations might melt 
and fashion into new forms. It seems that there were 
formerly large masses of glass, which were employed 
in the factories," Filiasi supposes that they were 
brought from Greece, where the composition of glass 
had attained a certain degree of perfection. By an 
ancient Venetian law masters of vessels were permitted 
to import these masses of glass as ballast. Sabellino 
speaks with admiration of the works executed at the 
commencement of the fourteenth century in the glass- 
works at Murano. 

It is much to be regretted that no work should be 
known to exist in which the art of making glass, as 
practised at Muranq, is accurately described. All in- 
quiries for such a work are, however, rendered useless 
by the fact that the workmen at Murano have always 

1 Depping, Histoire du Commerce, &c., vol. i. p. 191. 

«Ibid., vol.ii. p. 322, n. 

' Arc these the masses of glass mentioned by Eraclius, p. 208, 210? 


been sworn to preserve secrecy with respect to all 
technical processes.^ 

Much information, however, relative to this subject, 
will be found scattered through the pages of Neri's 
* Arte Vetraria,' and the Commentary on this work 
by Dr. Merret, an Englishman. Cardanus mentions a 
Venetian MS. on the manufacture of glass, which fell 
into his hands. This would undoubtedly be a great 
acquisition if it could be discovered. It was said to 
have been written by a Venetian named Panteo. 

Besides the uses already enumerated, glass was em- 
ployed in making beads for paternosters, a manufacture 
which is still carried on to a great extent at Murano. 
But the favourite material of which the beads or rosa- 
ries used in the middle ages were composed, appears to 
have been amber.* The scarcity and high price of 
genuine amber placing it beyond the reach of the 
people generally, various attempts were made to imi- 
tate it ; hence the numerous recipes in old MSS. for 
" making amber for paternosters ;" and hence also the 
adoption of the term " amber " as a synonyme for 
beads, in which sense it is frequently used in the 
Bolognese MS^» where we find directions for colouring 
the composition red, green, or blue, at pleasure. This 
fact is a sufficient proof of the estimation in which 
amber was held during the middle ages. Genuine 
amber was so highly prized that a statue of the Virgin 
made of this material, and a set of altar furniture in 

1 Gallipado Tallier (author of the ' Nuovo Plico d' ogni sorte di Tin- 
ture^' published at Bologna without a date) observes (p. 152), that ^* The 
red colour called ' rubino/ which, as every one knows, is made at Murano, 
is composed of * oro di zecchino,' but few are acquainted with the process of 
combining the calcined gold with the liquid crystal." He adds, '* The 
method of calcination is, howerer, known to mc, but it is not lawful for mc 
to discover it." 

* Secreti di Don Alessio Piemontese, Part ii., p. 35. MS. of the Mar- 
ciana, p. 609. 

3 Nos. 249—254. 


amber, studded with jewels,^ were considered among the 
treasures of the Santa Casa at Loreto. At the meet- 
ing of the English Archaeological Society in 1845, a 
necklace of rough amber was exhibited, which was 
found round the neck of a skeleton near Ely, and which 
was supposed to be of the Romano-British period.* 

Another art practised during the middle ages was 
the manufacture of artificial pearls firom the bones of 
the heads of fish, from mother-of-pearl, and other sub- 
stances; many recipes for these occur in MSS.,' as 
well as for making large pearls out of small ones. 
Beckmann treats these inventions with contempt, and 
thinks it impossible to give to any pulverized calcareous 
matter the hardness and lustre of real pearls. The 
varnish of caseum, mixed with the milk of the fig-tree, 
described in the Bolognese MS., No. 245, is certainly 
curious, and perhaps may hereafter receive a trial. 


It would appear, on the authority of the third book of Eraclius (p. 245), 
that lead-glass (see Eraclius, p. 217) was called Jewish glass. I have 
mentioned in the note to this passage,*^ that a ruby-coloured glass was for- 
merly sold at Birmingham under the name of Jews' glass ; the coincidence 
was at least curious, but facts were wanting to establish any connection 
between the Jewish glass of the middle ages and the modem ''Jews' 
glass." It is known that the manufacture of glass was pursued extensively 
by the Jews during the dark and middle ages. There were Jewish glass- 
blowers at Constantinople between a.d. 531 and 565. This is proved 
incidentally by the following narrative, related in the ' History of the 
■Jews :'t — 

" It was the custom of the Church to distribute the crumbs of the conse- 
crated host which might remain to children summoned for that purpose 

I It contained nearly 7000 pearls, besides diamonds and rubies, and was 
valued at 200,000 crowns. 

s Archeeological Journal for 1845, p. xlii. 

3 See Secreti di Don Alessio, Part ii., p. 85. Bol. MS., Nos. 246, 
264, 320. 

* P. 245. t Hist of the Jews, vol. iii. p. 230. 


rrom their schools. While Menas was Bishop of Constantinople, the child 
of a Jewish glass-blower went to the church with the rest, and partook of 
the sacred elements. The father, inquiring the cause of his delay, discovered 
what he had done. In his fury he seized him and shut him up in the 
blazing furnace. The mother went wandering about the city, wailing and 
seeking her lost ofl&pring. The third day she sat down by the door of the 
workshop, still weeping, and calling on the name of her child. The child 
answered from the furnace, the doors were forced open, and the child was 
discovered sitting unhurt amid the red-hot ashes. His account was, that a 
lady in a purple robe, of course the Blessed Virgin, had appeared, and 
poured water on the coals that were immediately around him. The unna- 
tural father was put to death, the mother and child baptized.*' 

Filiasi * relates, that in 687 many Greek workmen went to France for 
the purpose of working in glass. It is probable that these persons practised 
the art after the same methods as the Jews, and that they made the pro- 
cesses known in France. It appears that the Jews carried on the art in 
Syria also. Benjamin of Tudela, whose * Travels ' bear date from 1 160 to 
1 173, states that he found 400 Jews resident in Tyre, who were glass- 
blowers. This fact certainly shows a great trade in this branch of industry, 
and may be considered a confirmation of the assertion that the soda found 
at Tyre was peculiarly fitted for the manufacture of glass.f The glass- 
works in Syria do not appear to have been confined to Tyre, for Miss 
Martineau relates^ that a glass-house still exists at Hebron. The glass 
made here, however, appears to be of the most ordinary description, and it 
seems that the workmen are Arabs, and not Jews. 

At the beginning of the ninth century the Venetians traded with the 
ports of Egypt and Syria; and when, in 1122, the King of Jerusalem 
requested the Venetian navy to assist him at the siege of Tyre, the Vene- 
tians stipulated for the possession of a third part of the city, and the pay- 
ment of an annual sum of 300 besants. In the fourteenth century the 
Venetians had still a colony at Tyre.§ The art of glass* making, therefore, 
with which the Venetians are supposed to have been acquainted as early as 
the eleventh century, may have been communicated to them by the Tyrian 
Jews. It appears certain that they acquired it in the East. 

It was in the eleventh century that a leaden glaze was, as I have men- 
tioned (p. 177), first found on European pottery. The recipes in the 
MS. of Eraclius prove that lead-glass was known in some parts of Eurofie 

* Saggio suir antico Gommcrcio, &c., p. 148, n. 

t Neri, Arte Vetraria, lib. i. cap. I, and lib. vii. cap. 117, and Merret's notes 
on these chapters. The Venetians and Genoese had both settlements at Tyre in 
the 12th century. 

I ** Next we were oondacted to a glass-house, of all odd places to see in Heb- 
ron!' I would recommend a Newcastle one in preference, as there the glass is not 
greenish and thin, and the articles made can stand upright. We thought here 
as before, however, that the Arabs are expert enough at manual arts if they had 
fair play with tools and materials." — Eastern Life, vol. iii. p. 64. 

§ Depping, Histoire du Commerce, &c., vol. i., p. 153, quoting Navigero, Sto- 
ria della Republ. Veneziana, 819 ; in vol. xxiii. of Murat., Script. Rer. Ital., 
and And. Dandolo, Chronic. Venet, ann 828, in vol. xii. of the same work. 



[chap. it. 

at least as early as the thirteenth century ; but it appears that it was not 
generally known even at a later period,* for Neri, who published his * Arte 
Vetraria' in 1612, says (lib. iv. cap. Ui.) it was a secret known to but few 
glass- woriLcrs, *^ Cosa nota a pochi delP arte vetraria.'* Meiret, the comr 
mentator on Neri, in a note to this passage, remarks, that it was not in use 
in England on account of its want of durability. Both writers speak of the 
extreme beauty of the colours of the &ctitious gems made of this kind of 
glass, and Neri says '' that it is the most beautiful and noble kind of glass 
that is made, for real oriental jewels may be imitated with it; whi<^ 
cannot be done so well with crystal or any other kind of glass ; but if great 
care is not taken, it is so extremely fusible, that it will mn through the 
glass-pots, and be lost among the coals used in heating the fumaoe." 
From these facts, therefore, it is considered that there may be some reason 
for ascribing the invention, or at least the introductkm, of glass con- 
taining lead, &c., to the Jews, and at the same time of supposing that the 
correct reading of the above passage in Eradius has been given. 

* A peculiar kind of Venetian glass, containing lead, was used in Italy as a 
dryer for certain colours. See Mr. £astlake*8 'Materials,* &c^ p. 851. 



§ 1. On Gilding. 

Thb frequent and profiise employment of gilding in 
every kind of decorative work in the middle ages 
cannot have escaped the observation of the most super- 
ficial observer. The grounds of the most ancient 
mosaics were of gold, so were those of the pictures of 
the Byzantine and early Italian schools. The early 
Italian frescoes, as they are called, were adorned with 
gold leaf; the same decoration was extended to minia- 
tures, and afterwards to painting in oil, and the use of 
gilding in pictures was universal, until Domenico 
Ghirlandaio discovered the method of imitating gold 
with colours.* The directions, therefore, of all old 
MSS. on painting are diffuse and minute on this head, 
and although the recipes are alike in principle, there 
is some variety in the details. The grounds of the 
ancient gildings were of two kinds ; one of which was 
for miniatures and places not exposed to damp; the 
other consisted of an oil mordant, which was employed 
on walls and places exposed to humidity. As the 
gilding on many old mural paintings is in a remark- 
able state of preservation, it becomes important to 
ascertain the manner in which it was executed ; and 
where there is no precise documentary evidence to 
demonstrate this, it is desirable to have recourse to 
chemical analysis. 

Under this impression. Professor Branchi, of Pisa, 

1 Vasari, Vita di Domenico Gfatrlandaio. 

2fCVl INTRODUCTION. [chap. v. 

analysed some portions of the gold ground of the mural 
pictures by Benozzo Gozzoli and Buftalinacco in that 
noble relic of the arts and genius of the middle ages, 
the Campo Santo at Pisa. Professor Branch! relates 
in the following words the result of his experiments on 
this subject* 

" With regard to the ancient method of gilding in 
Pisa, I must observe that my experiments have not 
enabled me to discover any essential difference between 
•the gilding in Pisa and that of the picture by Taddeo 
Gaddi, which is still to be seen in the suppressed 
church of St. Francesco. 

" The intonaco is, however, white, fine, and of a 
thicker consistence. One denaro (grammi 1*779) 
contained gr. 11| (grammi 0*576) of a fine white 
sand, mixed with a little ai^illaceous earth. 

" The gilding of the fi'agments of a picture by 
Buffalmacco in our magnificent Campo Santo, is 
spread upon a layer of wax of the thickness of about 
half a line. This yields to the action of the nail, is 
slightly transparent, inflammable, and lighter than 
water; it liquefies at a low heat, is soluble in boiling 
alcohol, from which it separates on cooling in the form 
of a white and bulky mass ; it gives a lustre, to wood, 
and being thrown upon burning charcoal, it diffiises 
sensibly the odour of wax, which cannot be mistaken 
for any other substance.' It is true that in some parts 
the gold is seen on both sides ; from this I conjecture 
that this gilding was executed by Buffalmacco, either 
to repair some part already gilded, and with which he 
was not satisfied, or it was a reparation made at a 
subsequent period. 

^ Letteradel Prof. Branchi al Prof. Ciampi, &c., p. 18. 

8 ^* In making the above experiments I had no indication that a fixed dry- 
ing oil was mixed with the wax. Among the various mordants which painters 
were accustomed to use in illuminating with gold, is that which is composed 
chiefly of the above-mentioned substances." [Note by Prof. Branchi.] 

CHAP, v.] GILDING. xcvn 

" The gilding of those small fragments which 
were removed from one of the numerous pictures 
painted by the celebrated Benozzo Gozzoli in the same 
Campo Santo is in excellent preservation. The gold 
being removed with a sharp instrument, discovers a 
thin layer, not opaque, which may be scraped like wax, 
and which, like that substance, gives a lustre to wood 
on which it is rubbed. Below this appears a yellowish 
tint, which penetrates into the intonaco to a small, but 
not always uniform depth. When the gold leaf was 
separated from the fragments by immersion in boiling 
distilled water, a pellicle of wax appeared on the 

" The liquid being filtered, and afterwards slightly 
evaporated, acquired a yellowish colour, and then 
formed a pellicle which differed from the preceding, 
and by complete evaporation left a small quantity of 
combustible matter — so small that I could not deter- 
mine its nature. 

" From these experiments it appears that our an- 
cient gilding was executed, 1st, by applying on the 
smooth intonaco a kind of size, that is a liquid and 
tenacious substance, soluble in water, and coloured 
yellow ; 2ndly, by applying on this a thin coating of 
wax ; 3rdly, and finally, by affixing on this the gold leaf. 

" It should here be remarked that the gold leaves 
being detached without having suffered any alteration 
in consequence of the liquefaction of the wax, gave me 
an opportunity of observing how much thicker they 
were at that period than they are at present. From 
the time of the Romans until now the art of gold- 
beating has been continually progressing towards per- 
fection. From one ounce of this metal they were 
accustomed to obtain 750 square leaves and upwards, 
four fingers broad on each side,^ which is certainly 

1 Plinj, lib. xzxiii. cap. 3. Modern goldbeaters now make 1200 
VOL. I. g 

xcviu INTRODUCTION. [chap. t. 

below the number of those of equal dimension which 
our best goldbeaters now produce from the same quan- 
tity of gold. And as to the wax, which Benozzo 
applied to the intonaco in order to serve as a mordant, 
I shall observe that it must have been dissolved either 
in a volatile or in a fixed drying oil. From its charac- 
ters I am inclined more towards the volatile than the 
fixed oil ; but in order to form an accurate decision on 
this point, it would be necessary to have at my disposal 
a larger quantity of the gilding. I am induced to 
believe from the experiments which I made on some 
ancient pictures in 1791 for my particular friend 
Signer Alessandro Morrona, the author of the cele- 
brated work entitled * Pisa Illustrata,* that the first of 
these oils was formerly added to the above-named 
substance.'* ^ 

Some estimate of the extent to which gold was used 
on paintings in the fifteenth century may be formed 
from the document relative to the expenses of painting 
the chapel of S. Jacopo di Pistoia, which records that 
7000 leaves of gold were used for this purpose. 

§ 2. Auripetmm and FcHrporino. 

When the parties for whom pictures were painted 
were unable or unwilling to pay for gold (which was 
always supplied by the persons who ordered the pic- 
tures), it w^as usual to substitute for it on mural paint- 
ings leaves of tin-foil, covered with a yellow varnish. 

leaves from the same quantity. Cennino (cap. 139) complains that m his 
time 145 leaves were obtained from the ducat instead of 100 ; and it appears 
from Vasari, that in his time 435 leaves of gold were made from three ducats. 
The size of the leaves is described by Vasari to- have been the eighth of a 
braccio square. Cennino does not mention their size. 

1 Vol. ii. p. 162. '^ Sig. Giov. Fabbroni has proved ( Vantaggi e Metodi 
della Pittura £ncausta) that in encaustic paintings the ancients did not unite 
the wax with mastic as Requeno asserts, nor with an alkali as Lorgna pre- 
tends, nor with gums and honey as Astori asserts, but with a volatile oil- 
like naphtha, or spirit of turpentine." [Note by Prof. Branch!.] 


The method of applying and varnishing the tin-foil is 
fully described in the MS. of 8. Audemar, and many 
other old works on painting. Its actual employment 
on mural pictures is proved by the above-mentioned 
document^ relative to the expenses of the paintings 
executed in the chapel of S. Jacopo di Pistoia, in 
which 37 pieces of tin are mentioned. At the time 
Professor Branchi made his experiments on the gild- 
ing and pigments employed on these paintings, ancient 
treatises on art appear to have been but little studied. 
Branchi, it is true, mentions the work of Theophilus, 
which had been published by Lessing and Raspe ; but 
his acquaintance with it must have been superficial, or 
he would have recollected that Theophilus describes* 
the leaves of tin, and the method of using them on 
pictures and on books. If he had read this part of the 
work, he would also have seen that the tin-foil was 
varnished, and he would then have understood the 
probable use of the varnish mentioned in the document, 
for the employment of which he could not satisfactorily 
account,^ since he says that the fragments of the gild- 
ing, and of the pictures which he had analysed, gave 
no indication of varnish.* 

In order to economize gold, the old masters had 
another invention called "porporino," a composition 
made of quicksilver, tin, and sulphur, which produced 
a yellow metallic powder that was employed instead of 
gold.* The Bolognese MS. devotes a whole chapter to 
this subject A substance of a similar nature is now in 

1 Ciampiy Notizie, &c., p. 145. 

s Lib. i. cb. 26 and 32, £. ed. Tbe varnish for the tin leaves is fully 
described in the MS. of S. Audemar, p. 163, 165. 

3 The small quantity of sandarac (one pound) mentioned in the document 
published by Ciampi was evidently insufficient to varnish the pictures, 
which, judging from the large quantity of colours supplied, must have been 
very large or very numerous. 

4 Letteradi Branchi, p. 18. 

^ See Cennino Cennini,Trattato, cap. 159; fiol. MS., cap. 6. 


C INTRODUCTION. [chap. v. 

use in England, and is employed as a substitute for 
gold on coloured woodcuts and chromolithographs. 

§ 3. Od the use of Wax in Painting. 

The subject of wax-painting during the middle ages 
has been so fully and ably treated by Mr. Eastlake in 
his recent work/ that but little remains to be added. 

It may, however, be remarked that, in addition to 
the use of wax as a mordant for gilding, in the manner 
before mentioned, it was employed as a varnish for paint- 
ings,* for which purpose it is supposed to have been 
dissolved in an essential oil. That it was also used as 
a vehicle for painting is established by the two recipes 
quoted by Mr. Eastlake from the Byzantine MS., and 
from that of Le Begue. The principle of these two 
recipes (the solution of wax in caustic potash^) is the 
same in both MSS., but the latter recipe contains 
mastic in addition to glue and wax. The last-men- 
tioned vehicle must have resembled somewhat the 
cement, or cera colla^ which was in use in England 
about the year 1385, and of which Mr. Hartshorne 
found the following notice among the documents pre- 
served in Rochester Castle :* — " For 3i lbs. of wax 
bought for cement (ad cimentum), 21df., at 6d. a lb. 
In 2 lbs. of frankincense, 6rf. In 5 lbs. of lees (coda) 
and 1 lb. of pitch, 6 id" * It will be observed that 
glue is not mentioned in the above entry. Neither 
does it appear in the varnish used for painting on 
glass described in the Venetian MS.** This varnish 

1 Materials, &c., chap. 6. ^ Ibid., p. 163, andn. 

* In the Le Begue MS. (p. 307) the word " flandres" has been erro- 
neously substituted for '* cendres ** — ashes, which, when boiled with water, 
made a lixivium, which was rendered caustic by the addition of lime, exactly 
in the manner now employed by soap boilers. 

< See Arch. Joum., Jan. 1845, p. 373. 

ft The Marciana MS. (p. 626) has a recipe for a cement of this kind, 
composed of wax, liquid varnish, and black naval pitch. 

• Sloane MSS., No. 416. See Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials,' &c., p. 172, n. 


consisted of wax, white turpentine, and mastic, and 
was of the same nature as the cement employed by 
Agnolo Gaddi in repairing the mosaics in S. Giovanni 
at Florence, which varied from the above in being 
composed of mastic and wax only ; its object was to 
exclude damp. 

One of the very few medieval pictures reputed to be 
painted with wax at present known to connoisseurs, 
is the Martyrdom of St Simon the Younger, by An- 
drea Mantegna, whose name is inscribed on the paint- 
ing. It is in the possession of Signer Giuseppe 
Vallardi at Milan, and belonged formerly to the 
Abbate Boni, of Venice.^ The picture is very perfect, 
the colours bright, and the touches sharp. The darks 
are laid on very thick, but the paint appears to have 
run into spots or streaks, as if it had been touched with 
something which had disturbed the surface. It is 
said, however, that it has never been repaired, and its 
authenticity is stated to be undoubted. It is evident 
that the wax has been used liquid, for if the colours had 
been fused by the application of heat, the sharpness and 
precision of touch for which this picture, in common 
with other paintings of this period, is remarkable, would 
have been lost and melted down. The vehicle, what- 
ever it was, appeared to me to have been as manage- 
able as that of Van Eyck. This picture was painted 
late in life by Mantegna. 

The same collection also contains a modern picture, 
which may with propriety be said to be in encaustic, 
since the colours are melted in by the application of a 
hot iron. This is a small picture of a sleeping Cupid 
by Appiani, painted by way of experiment on a brick, 
the surface of which was properly prepared. The 
colours of this picture were dull, and the effect like 
that of a fresco ; it seemed to be better adapted for 

1 See Catalogo dei Quadri di Giuseppe Vallardi. Milano, 1830. 

Cli INTRODUCTION. [chap. v. 

decorative effect than for cabinet pictures. The lights 
were poor, and did not bear out well. 

Wax painting is now practised at Parma. An 
apartment of the Museo di Antichita, and another in 
the public library of that city, are now being painted 
with a wax vehicle, and after a process invented by an 
artist of that city, which he freely and obligingly com- 
municated to me. 

The vehicle used consists of wax and resin dis- 
solved in spirit of turpentine. The mixture is fluids 
and of the colour of milk. In this the colours are 
ground, and are then preserved in small glasses, and 
spirit of turpentine is poured upon them to preserve 
them. To close these glasses conveniently, the painter 
employs a cushion of leather larger than the glass, with 
a button on the top for a handle, and this contrivance 
effectually defends the colours from the air and dust 

All colours may be used indiscriminately, Prussian 
blue, orpiment, and others which are not permanent in oil. 

For the ground, the wall or ceiling is plastered in 
the usual way with lime, and is not quite smooth, but 
is left with a kind of grain or tooth. The painting is 
executed on this ground when dry, without other pre- 

The method is said to require some practice, a^ the 
colours dry fast. When working, the colours are 
diluted with spirit of turpentine. 

This kind of painting has great brilliancy and trans- 
parency, and can be seen well from any point of view. 
If durable, it seems well adapted for decorative pur- 
poses. The method has been in use for about six 

§ 4. On Painting Statues. 

The practice of painting statues was common during 
the middle ages.* The proofs of this are numerous. 

^ Ciampi, Notizie, &c., p. 118, 142. 


The documents recording the wax vehicle, or varnish, 
called cera collar furnished to Andrea Pisano for paint- 
ing and varnishing a marble statue over the principal 
door in the fa9ade of the Cathedral of Orvieto, has 
been mentioned by Mr. Eastlake.^ This practice is 
alluded to more than once in the MS. of Le Begue,^ and 
in the Tabula Imperfecta' is a reference to some direc- 
tions contained in Theophilus^ for painting round 
images, " ymagines rotundas,"* and other sculptured 
articles which are not covered with leather, cloth, or 
parchment. The most remarkable example, probably 
now in existence, of the union of painting with statuary, 
is in the baptistery near the Cathedral of Novara. The 
building is circular, and supported by ancient columns : 
the recesses between the columns contain the events of 


the Passion. The figures in plastic work are as large 
as life, coloured ; and in some cases the resemblance to 
life . is completed by the addition of real hair. The 
wall behind the figures, which is painted in fresco, 
serves as a background to the figures ; and the light 
aerial tone of the painting contributes much to the 
effect of the figures. The remarks on these groups, in 
a MS. Journal, quoted by the author of the * Hand- 
book for North Italy,' are so appropriate and judicious, 
that I shall make no apology for introducing them here. 
** They are," he says, " probably by Gaudenzio Ferrari,® 
who excelled in this branch of art ; and many of the 
figures are of exquisite workmanship. The two finest 
groups are the Garden of Olives, and the Scourging of 
our Lord, which last, without being in the least disgust- 
ing or painful, is most deeply affecting. One of the 

1 Materials, &c., p. 170. 

« See No. 180 (p. 146), and No. 344 (p. 316). » P: 40. 

4 Lib. i. cap. 23, £. ed. ^ The word *' rotundas" is not in Theophilus. 

^ Gaudenzio Ferrari was born in 1484, and died in 1660. He was oiio 
of the principal painters of the Milanese school, and his merits, which have 
been overlooked by Vasari, have been justly appreciated and warmly eulo- 
gized by Lomazzo and Lanzi. 


executioners is sitting down, tired with his work ; the 
Roman soldier looks on with pity; the other can no 
longer look, and turns away. These representations 
are so entirely at variance with our conventional rules, 
that it requires a considerable degree of mental exertion 
to appreciate them. The first step in this, and many 
similar occasions, must be for the observer to forget all 
that he has read upon the theory of the fine arts ; and 
to form his opinion, as the judge tells the jury, not to 
mind what they have heard out of court, but to give 
their verdict upon the evidence before them. In so 
doing, you must recollect that the only valid plea by 
which the introduction of images into churches is 
attempted to be justified by the Romanists, is, that 
they are books of instruction to the common people ; 
and certainly neither mere painting, nor mere sculp- 
ture, can realise the events of Scripture to the mind in 
a manner so vivid as this union of form and colour. 
You will rarely enter this baptistery without finding 
individuals employed in acts of devotion before these 
scenes ; some reading appropriate selections from Scrip- 
ture, some engaged in prayer, but not praying to the 
images, for the circumstance of their forming entire 
groups prevents any one being singled out as the object 
of worship; and let us repeat, that the independent 
judgment which we have ventured to advise the tra- 
veller to assert in Italy, will be much strengthened by 
his asserting it in the baptistery of Novara." In 
the Life of Andrea Verrocchio, Vasari gives a descrip- 
tion of some curious eflSgies of Lorenzo de' Medicis, 
which were modelled in wax and afterwards painted in 
oil. His account is as follows : — " On the occasion of 
the murder of Giuliano de' Medicis, and the narrow 
escape of Lorenzo his brother, who was wounded at 
the same time, in the Church of S** Maria del Fiore, 
the friends of Lorenzo ordered several effigies of him 
to be made in commemoration of this event. Among 


others, Orsini, a celebrated modeller in wax, with the 
assistance and under the direction of Andrea Ver- 
rocchio, modelled three images as large as life. Within 
these was a kind of skeleton of wood, and split canes, 
which was covered with waxed cloth, disposed in such 
well-arranged folds, that it was impossible anything 
could more nearly resemble the reality. The heads, 
hands, and feet, which were of wax, were hollow within, 
and modelled from the life, and then painted in oil, 
real hair being added, and all appropriate ornaments. 
" These,'* says Vasari, " represented not waxen effigies, 
but living men, as may be seen in all three figures, one 
of which is in the church of the nuns of Chiarito, in the 
Via di S. Gallo. This figure is habited in the very 
dress which Lorenzo wore when, wounded in the throat 
and bandaged, he appeared at a window of his house, 
that he might be seen by the people, who had collected 
there to ascertain whether he was alive, as they wished 
him to be, or dead ; and if dead, that they might 
avenge him." The second figure is in the church of 
the Servites, at Lucca, in the civil costume worn by the 
Florentines. The third image was sent to S^** Maria 
degli Angeli, at Assisi. There were other wax figures 
by Orsini in the Church of the Servites. These were 
distinguished by a large O, within which was an R, 
with a cross above it. They were all fine works of art, 
and Vasari remarks that they have been equalled by 
few. He adds diat the art was practised in his time, 
but whether from want of devotion, or other causes, 
it was then declining. 

The custom of painting figures extended also to the 
colouring, with a kind of enamel, of figures and bassi 
rilievi in terra cotta ; and the niunerous specimens of 
this kind of decoration which still remain, prove the 
estimation in which this art was once held. 

The most distinguished artist in this line was Luca 
della Eobbia, to whom many improvements in the art 
are ascribed. 

cvi INTRODUCTION. [chap. v. 

In Spain the art of colouring wooden statues was 
continued to a comparatively late period. Pacheco* 
gives instructions for painting statues, and it appears 
that he did not disdain to practise the art himself, and 
that he even claimed the honour of having introduced a 
better style of painting sculpture. Alonzo Cano and 
Montafies are said to have frequently stipulated that 
none but themselves should paint the images which they 
had carved.* 

The practice of painting " ymagines rotundas " was 
not confined to those carved in wood ; it extended also 
to stone statues, and was frequently employed on the 
sepulchral effigies of kings and nobles. In this case the 
dress of the sculptured figure exactly resembled that 
worn by the person whom it was intended to represent 
Among the Germans and English a general custom 
prevailed of painting monumental effigies. A remark- 
able instance of this occurs in the effigy of Henry II. of 
England, at Fontevraud, in Normandy, described by 
Mr. Stothard in his work entitled ' The Monumental 
Effigies of Great Britain.* The beard of the figure is 
painted and stippled like a miniature, to represent its 
being closely shaven in the Norman fashion. The 
mantle, Mr. Stothard ascertained by scraping, had 
been painted several times ; it was originally of a deep 
reddish chocolate.* The Dalmatica, or tunic, was of 
crimson, covered with gold stars. The boots were 
green, with gold spurs, fastened by red leathers. The 
gloves have jewels on the centre of the back of the 
hand, a mark of royalty or high ecclesiastical rank. 
The crown and the right hand are broken, but the latter 
still retains the sceptre. The sword lies on the bier .by 

1 Tratado della Pintura, p. 402, &c. 

2 For additional information on this subject, see Ford^s Hand-book for 
Spain, p. 110. 

* Probably the deep red colour found on old frescoes, apparently pro- 
duced by the red haematite. 


the left side. With the exception of the position of the 
sword, it will be seen that this description agrees with 
the account of the burial of Henry II., extracted by 
Mr. Stothard from the History of Matthew Paris, who 
says, " the king was arrayed in the royal investments, 
having a golden crown on his head, and gloves on the 
hands, boots wrought with gold on the feet, and spurs, 
and a great ring on the finger, with the sceptre in the 
hand, and girt with a sword: he lay with his face 
uncovered." Mr. Stothard continues, " It therefore 
appeiars that the tomb was literally a representation of 
the deceased king, as if he still lay in state. Nor can 
we, without supposing such was the custom, otherwise 
account for the singular coincidence between the effigy 
of King John on the lid of his coffin and his body 
within it, when discovered a few years since." ^ 

§ 5, Implements used in Painting. 

The wood-cut, copied originally from a miniature of 
the fifteenth century, in the Bibliotheque Royale at 
Paris, appeared in the before-mentioned interesting 
work of M. Aimfe ChampoUion-Figeac ; it exhibits a 
female artist in the act of painting a statue of the 
Virgin holding the infant Saviour. The subject is 
highly interesting in another point of view, because it 
shows the implements used at that period in painting. 
The artist holds a pencil or brush in her right hand, 
and a palette with a handle in her left, thus afibrding 
incontestable evidence that the palette was used in 
France during the fifteenth century. This is, perhaps, 
the earliest notice of this implement with which we are 
acquainted. The colours, mixed in shells, as described 
by Alcherius and other writers, are placed on a small 
bench by her side, near which are the brushes in a tray, 
and a second palette, also furnished with a handle. 

1 King John was buried in Worcester Cathedral. 


Another illustration of the work of M. Champollion, 
copied from a miniature of the same period, represents 
the atelier of a painter of the fifteenth century. He is 
sitting on a folding stool, holding in ^ left hand a 
palette, similar in its form to those represented in the 
last cut. In 1^ right hand he holds a brush, with 
which Jj^ is painting a picture of the Virgin and Child, 


which, from being framed, suggests the idea of being 
painted on canvass. The picture is placed on an easel, 
supported by three legs. In the background is a man 
grinding colours, with a jar by his side. In the fore- 
ground is a low table, on which are shells of various 
kinds holding colours, and a tray full of brushes. The 
long and flowing sleeves of the painter, and the pointed 
shoes of the man grinding the colours, will assist in 
fixing the date of this drawing. 

§ 6. Leather. 

It has been mentioned that during the age of Frede- 
rick Barbarossa, the clothes of men were of leather, 
unlined. There is reason, however, to believe, from 
the recipes contained in the Lucca MS., and repeated 
in the Mappae Clavicula, that the skins were frequently 
dyed. During the dark and middle ages, the prepara- 
tion of leather appears to have been carried on chiefly 
in the south (^ Europe, and in the countries inhabited 
by the Saracens and Moors. The leather of Marseilles 
was particularly valued at this period ;^nd one quarter 
of the city, called "La Cuiraterie," was especially set 
apart for the preparation of this article, with which the 
markets of Spain and Italy were supplied. In the 
twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, skins and 
leather were also imported from Africa into Barcelona, 
and the merchants of this city occupied, conjointly with 
those of Marseilles, a certain quarter of the city of 
Troyes, where they carried on a trade principally in 
Morocco leather.* From the ninth to the middle of 
the thirteenth century, the city of Cordova, in Spain, 
was celebrated for the leather called " Cordovan," 
which was manufactured there by the Moors. 

The use of leather was not limited to articles of 
dress, but as men became more luxurious, the fashion 

I Depping, Histoire du Commerce, vol. i. p. 249, 263, 294. 

ex INTRODUCTION. [chaf. v. 

of hanging rooms with leather, painted linen-cloth,^ or 
tapestry, was introduced. The walls of apartments 
were formerly left bare, and on the introduction of 
leather hangings or tapestry, they were confined to that 
part of the room which was immediately behind the 
seats occupied by the owners of the house. These 
hangings were suspended from hooks fixed in the wall, 
and, like the glass windows, were removed when the 
family changed their residence. Frequent examples of 
these partial hangings of apartments may be seen in 
miniatures and pictures of the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries. In the fifteenth century, the hangings were 
continued round the apartment, and the leather was 
frequently stamped and gilt, or ornamented with tin- 
foil, and afterwards varnished with a yellow varnish. 
Descriptions of this varnish are to be found in all 
technical works relating to art, from the Lucca MS. to 
the Treatise of Pacheco, inclusive. 

Filiasi* observes that " the art of gilding skins and 
leather has been exercised from time immemorial in 
the [Venetian] lagoon, and to such an extent was the 
commerce in this merchandise carried on with Spain and 
the Levant, that, one year with another, the trade in 
gilt leather brought into Venice a clear profit of about 
100,000 ducats and more." Apartments hung with this 
stamped and gilt leather may still be seen in some of 
the palaces at Venice. The Barbarigo Palace has 
more than one room decorated in this manner. Leather 
hangings were also in use in our own country; the 
best specimens are at Nonsuch Palace, in Surrey ; 
Hinchinbrook House, near Huntingdon ; Ruffor Abbey, 
in Nottinghamshire ; and at Blenheim.^ 

Gilt leather was also applied to other purposes. It 

1 See Mr. Eastlake's * Materials,' p. 97. 

* Saggio suir Antico Commercio, suU* Arti, e suUa Marinade' Veneziani, 
appended to the 7th volume of his Memorie Storiche de' Ycneti, p. 153. 
3 See a paper on this subject in the Art Union for August, 1847. 


was used for the covers of books, and for frames 
of mirrors. Examples of both may be seen in the 
museum in the Hotel de Cluny at Paris. Pictures 
were also frequently painted on plain leather, stretched 
on a panel. The circumstance is alluded to by 
Eraclius. Marco Bizzi sometimes painted in tempera 
on kid-skins ;^ and in the Fondaco de* Tedeschi an 
apartment is decorated with historical pictures by Paolo 
Veronese, painted on the gilt leather for which Venice 
was so famous.* 

In the commencement of this Introduction foil credit 
has been given to the monks for the preservation of 
literature and the arts ; but it must be allowed that if 
they have been the cause of the preservation of learning 
during the dark ages, they have also actually destroyed 
the writings of many classic authors in order to tran- 
scribe on the parchment on which they were written 
the works of the fathers or the legends of the saints. 
Some of the lost works of antiquity have been 
brought to light by the labours of Cardinal Angelo 
Mai and other learned men ; but alas ! the ingenious 
monks had discovered another and more effectual 
method of destroying the literary treasures of antiquity. 
This method is revealed in the Bolognese MS.,^ where 
we find a recipe " To make chamois leather with sheep 
or goat-skin parchinentj which lias been written on /" 
Who shall say how many classic works have been made 
into leather waistcoats for the warriors of the middle 
ages or cut into sandals for the sleek and well-fed 
monks ? Who shall even say how many works were 
obliterated before the destroying process was brought 
to perfection, and the grand discovery made that parch- 
ment which had been written on would make as good 
leather as that which had never been touched by a pen ? 

1 Zanettiy della Pittura Veneziana, p. 442, n. 
« Ibid., p. 194. 3 Ibid., p. 376. 

cxii INTRODUCTION. [chap. y. 

§ 7. Niello. 

Amopg the arts formerly practised and now fallen into 
disuse, there is perhaps none which has led to such im- 
portant results as the ancient nigellura or niello, for to 
this we are indebted for the invention of engraving. 
The art was known to the ancients and was practised 
during the middle ages, as we find from the * Mappae 
Clavicula,' the MSS. of Eraclius, Theophilus, and Le 
Begue, as well as from specimens of the art still existing 
in diflTerent museums. These examples are extremely 

That the art was practised by the Byzantine Greeks 
is proved by the specimens in the Pala d'Oro, which 
was made at Constantinople in 976, by order of the 
Doge Pietro Orseolo, for the church of S. Mark at 
Venice, where it may now be seen. The material is 
silver-gilt ornamented with gems and enamels. Some 
of the inscriptions are in Greek and some in Latin, 
but the letters are all in niello. The Pala d'Oro was 
repaired in 1105, in 1209, and in 1345, but it is highly 
probable that the nielli formed part of the original 
design. Some fragments of it are now in England. 
The Marquess Trivulzio of Milan has a collection of 
about forty nielli, among which I saw a very fine 
specimen by Maso Finiguerra and another by Pere- 
grino, besides others highly interesting. 

This art was much cultivated by the early Milanese 
goldsmiths, who applied it to the decoration of arms 
and armour, as well as to religious purposes.^ 

Benvenuto Cellini remarks^ that the art of exe- 
cuting nielli was nearly forgotten at Florence in the 
year 1515, when he began to learn the craft of the 
goldsmith. But, he proceeds, as he was continually 

1 Milano e il suo Territorio, vol, ii. p. 244. 

« Deir Arte del Niellare, e del Modo di fare il Niello. 


hearing from the goldsmiths of the beauty of the nielli, 
and particularly of the skill of Maso Finiguerra in this 
art, he applied himself with great diligence to follow 
the traces of these skilful goldsmiths ; but not content 
with learning to engrave on the silver only, he learned 
also the mode of executing the nielli, in order to work 
with more facility and certainty. Cellini has left us 
the most precise description of the mode of working 
nielli which is extant It has been published with his 
other works.* 

The art consisted * in drawing the design on gold or 
silver with a style and then engraving it with the burin ; 
a black composition was then made of copper, lead, 
silver, and sulphur, incorporated together by heat. 
When cold the composition was pounded and laid on 
the engraved silver plate, a little borax was sprinkled 
over it, and the plate was then placed over a charcoal 
fire until the composition, being dissolved, flowed into 
all the lines of the design. When cold, the work was 
scraped and burnished, and the niello presented the 
effect of a drawing in black on gold or silver. 

§ 8. Dyeing. 

During the dark ages the Jews appear to have mono- 
polised the trade of dyeing. Benjamin of Tudela 
relates that when he visited Jerusalem (between 11 60 
and 1 1 73) he found only two hundred Jews resident in 
that city, who were all dyers of wool, and who had 
purchased a monopoly of the trade. Beckniann * has 
shown that the art of dyeing was principally carried on 
by this people during the same period in Italy. Dye- 
houses were established in the duchy of Benevento as 
early as the eleventh century, and in Sicily at the com- 

1 The Life and Writings of Cellini were published in 3 toIs. 8vo., in 
1806, at Milan. 

> See Yasari, Int., cap. zzxiii. > Inventions, Title Indigo, 

VOL. I. h 

cxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap. v. 

mencement of the thirteenth. From the Jews resident 
in Italy the art soon spread to the Italians, who carried 
it to a greater degree of perfection than the other 
nations of Europe. 

In Venice there appear to have been distinct esta- 
blishments for dyeing in the thirteenth century/ for 
this city was then celebrated for its purple dyes. The 
scarlet dyes prepared from the kermes (ffrand) at 
Florence were particularly prized. About the year 
1338 this city contained nearly two hundred of these 
factories.* In the year 1300 the art of dyeing with the 
purple colour obtained from the lichen Roccella or Ori- 
cello was introduced from the Levant ; but the secret 
of preparing the dye was for a long period confined to a 
single family, who acquired a lai^e fortune by culti- 
vating this branch of industry, and who for this reason 
received the name of " Ruccellai." 

Previous to this period Marseilles, Aries, Montpellier, 
and other parts of the South of France, were famous 
for red, blue, and rose-coloured dyes. The statutes of 
these cities contain regulations relative to the use of 
madder, kermes, and brasil wood in dyeing.' 

The date of the introduction of the art of dyeing 
into England seems uncertain. Hume remarks that 
" in the reign of Henry III. woollen cloth, which the 
English had not then the art of dyeing, was worn by 
them white, and without receiving the last hand of the 
manufacturer;" and it is certain that as late as the 
year 1284 * the English were in the habit of contract- 
ing with the Florentine merchants for the sale of their 
fleeces for a period of one year or more. Mr. Hallam * 
has, however, shown that a woollen-manufactory existed 

1 Filiasi, Saggio, &c., p. 153. 

3 Depping, Histoire du Commerce, &e., vol. i. p. 235. 
8 Ibid., vol. ii. p. 293, 800. 

4 Ibid., vol. i. p. 337, quoting Pagnini ' Delia Decima e delle altre 
Gravezze.' ^ Hbtory of the Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 378. 


in England under Henry 11^ which was noticed in the 
regulations of Kichard I., and which, by the importa- 
tion of woad under John, may be considered to have 
been then flourishing. From the importation of woad 
it may certainly be inferred that the English under- 
stood and practised the art of dyeing as early as the 
time of John. The MS. of S- Audemar alludes to a 
substance called folium,^ which was used by the English 
to dye wool red or purple. The date of this MS. is 
uncertain, but it is probably not later than the beginning 
of the thirteenth century. 

From the frequent occurrence of treatises on dyeing 
in old MSS. relative to the arts, it seems probable that 
this art was formerly practised in monasteries conjointly 
with painting and medicine. The older MSS., such as 
that of Lucca and the *Mappae Clavicula,' contain 
recipes for dyeing skins and leather only. The Bo- 
lognese MS. contains a long treatise on dyeing, in 
which various methods of dyeing skins and leather of 
all kinds, as well as silk, thread, and woollen stufis, are 
circumstantially detailed. The Sloane MS., No. 1754, 
contains also a treatise *' de Tincturis," which seems to 
have been written principally for the use of the monks, 
the dyeing of the dresses worn by them being described 
in it These treatises are generally accompanied by 
recipes for removing stains from cloth. In the intro- 
duction to the MSS. of Le Begue a practice is noticed " 
which prevailed in England, previous to the introduc- 
tion of printing with blocks, of painting linen cloth 
intended for wearing-apparel with figures, flowers, and 
various devices in imitation of embroidery. Recipes of 
a similar kind are contained in the Sloane MS. above 
mentioned, and also in the Bolognese MS." 

^ A vegetable colour employed also in painting, prepared from the juice 
of the Croton tinctorium. 

« Page 7. 8 Page 491. 

h 2 




The fact that in Italy colours were mixed with oil in 
painting long before the alleged introduction of oil 
painting by Antonello da Messina, has been established 
by the clearest evidence ; but the method adopted by 
these early artists was rude and imperfect ; and it was 
only after the middle of the fifteenth century that the 
process, which had been perfected by the genius and 
skill of the brothers Van Eyck, was introduced into 
Italy by their pupils and followers. 

In the course of years the Flemish process under- 
went various modifications, some of the old practices 
were altered, and new ones introduced, until the ex- 
ample of Titian and Paolo Veronese occasioned a 
radical change in the technical methods of the Italian 
painters. After their time the new methods were 
again modified and changed by succeeding painters, 
until not only the original Flemish process, but those 
of the Venetian painters, had fallen into oblivion, and 
but few traces of the old practices remained. Some of 
these have been handed down traditionally from mas- 
ter to pupil ; others may be collected from works on 

It was with a view to collect these scattered reminis- 
cences of art that the present work was principally 

As traditionary practices might possibly preserve 
the remembrance of technical processes not recorded in 
books, or at least serve to confirm those which have 
been described by writers on aft, it appeared to me 


most desirable to learn as many of them as I could. 
With this view, I applied for information to several 
eminent artists and restorers of pictures in the north of 
Italy. Nothing can exceed the kindness and frankness 
with which they answered my inquiries, and commu- 
nicated all they knew respecting the old methods of 
painting. On one occasion only was there the slightest 
degree of reserve. 

The information contained in the treatises published 
in these volumes, and in other works on art, relative to 
technical details, is frequently concise and incomplete, 
and sometimes merely incidental. Extensive reading 
is, therefore, necessary to enable one to form a just 
idea of the early methods of oil-painting. As many of 
the processes are described in books which are so rare 
as to be scarcely accessible to the general reader, I 
have endeavoured to collect from them, as well as from 
the communications of Italian artists, such information 
as will give the reader some slight notions of the Ita- 
lian practice of oil-painting. 

The materials I have collected may be arranged 
under the following heads: — 1st. The communications 
made by foreign professors of painting. 2ndly. An 
explanation of the colours used in painting,^ with some 
account of the manner in which they are employed. 
3rdly. A description of the mode of preparing oils and 
varnishes, and of the resins of which the latter are 
composed ; and, 4thly, A short account of the process of 

§ 1. OpinioDs of eminent Italian Artists as to the Practice of 

tlie Old Masters. 

The following particulars relative to old methods of 
painting were communicated to me by Signor A., an 
artist who had practised many years at Milan, and is 
esteemed as a skilful restorer of pictures. 

The Society of Painters in the Italian States were 

CXViu INTRODUCTION. [chap. n. 

governed by certain rules and regulations among them- 
selves, and when a young man wished to become a 
painter, he was placed with one of established repu- 
tation, with whom he was to continue one year on trial 
If at the end of that period the master was dissatisfied 
with the boy's progress, he returned him to his parents ; 
if he approved of him, the boy was bound to him for 
twelve years,^ the first six or seven of which were spent 
in learning to grind colours, and all the other mecha- 
nical parts of the art, as well as in painting " Madon- 
nine," which were sent to the fairs for sale, and the 
proceeds helped to pay the expenses of the boy's board 
and lodging. The pupil was sworn never to divulge 
the secrets * of the art until he became a master him- 
self, when he was allowed to teach his own pupils, first 
binding them to secrecy. Signer A. remarked that a 
master could not execute large works properly unless 
he had half a dozen pupils at least, and the object of 
the long apprenticeship was, that the pupil might by 
his services repay the master who had maintained and 
taught him, for in those days pupils did not pay 
apprentice fees. 

He observed that Titian painted on a ground of thin 
"gesso msjrcio,*" taking especial care not to put too 
much glue,* and this slightly absorbent ground was 
useful in getting rid of the superfluous oil. He next 
stated that the two great faults of the moderns were the 
use of white lead in their grounds, and the little care 
they took in purifying their colours. He said that any 

1 Cennini (cap. civ.) mentions a similar terra of apprenticeship. He 
says the first year was spent in studying drawing ; the next six in learning 
to grind colours, to make glue, to prepare grounds, and to gild ; and the 
remaining six years in learning to paint. 

» Compare with the Statutes of Siencse Painters, s. xiii. xJ. Carteggio 
Inedito, vol. ii. 

8 See Zanetti, della Pittura Veneziana, p. 101. 

4 Strong glue would have hardened the ground and rendered it oon- 
absorbent. Sec p. 888. 


picture in which white lead was used in the ground 
would inevitably crack within fifty years after it was 
painted, and that pictures painted with oil on a white 
lead ground would moreover turn brown,^ This prac- 
tice, he said, was observed by Mengs, who in other 
respects painted with the true method. He also said 
that the colours were always ground with oil, but that 
oil was not used to paint with. The colours, he said, 
were of the most common description, as we read in 
Lanzi and others, * but they were careftiUy purified 
and washed. Signor A. told me, that when he was at 
Venice he made a point of going to the Piazza San 
Salvatore,' where Titian used to purchase his colours, 
to see whether there were any " speziali " * there still. 
He found one, and inquired of him if he had any old 
colours, such as were used by the old painters, and he 
was shown an orange-coloured pigment, which resem- 
bled a colour frequently found on Venetian pictures. 
Signor A. gave me an ounce or more of this colour. 

He said the blue used by Titian, Correggio, Paul 
Veronese, and others, was " bleu minerale," (he pro- 
nounced this word in the Italian manner ;) he showed 
me his bottle of this blue, and told me I could pur- 
chase it for one soldo an ounce, for it was no^^^r used for 
the most common purposes ; but that it could not be 
used with oil, or in any method but his, on oil paint- 
ings. He said the Venetians never used ultramarine,* 
which inclined too much to the violet. 

As to Titian's method of painting, he said the whole 
subject was painted in chiaroscuro with this same blue, 

mixed with white and terra rossa, as if painting with 


^ Vasari (Int., eap. ix\.) and Armenini mention that white lead was 
used in the grounds. 

s Zanetti, delia Pittura Veneziana, p. 100. 

s Titian is said to have purchased his colours in Rialto ; San Salvatore is 
on the other side of the Canal Grande. 

4 Apothecaries or druggists who sold colours. 

^ There is proof that the Venetians did occasionally use ultramarine. 


Indian ink; that the lights were laid on with flesh- 
colour (red and white) ; the picture was then laid aside 
for several months (say five or six); afterwards the 
flesh-colour, consisting of terra rossa, or whatever you 
please, was glazed over the flesh, and then the picture 
was again laid by to dry. I think Signor A. said 
the shades and half tints were then painted, and the 
picture again dried. The glazing was then repeated 
until the painter was satisfied with his work, setting the 
picture aside between every glazing, until quite dry 
and hard.^ That the picture was invariably first 
painted in cold colours, and that the warm colours 
were afterwards glazed upon them. That the whole 
surface of the picture, when the painting was completed, 
was glazed over with asphaltum ("spalto bianco, bi- 
tume Hebraico'*). "But," I remarked, "if asphaltum 
is now used, it is almost sure to crack." He answered, 
"That is because you do not know how to use it." 
He added, that all Titian's pictures were glazed with it 
The effect of daylight discernible in Titian's pictures 
was, he observed, produced by his studying after the 
life in the public gardens and the open air, and never 
in the darkened studio.* 

I asked whether placing the picture in the sun made 
any difference : he hesitated. I then related the passage 
from the letters of Rubens,' giving the authority ; and 
he admitted this was necessary to prevent the picture 
becoming yellow.* 

He also said it is reported that Correggio was a 

1 The subject was resumed at another interview, and is more clearly ex- 
plained in p. cxxiii. 

2 See Zanetti, della Pittura Yeneziana, p. 99. 

3 See Gachet, Lettres inddites de P. P. Rubens, 1840, p. 234. 

4 I had been previously informed that it was the custom in Italy to place 
pictures in the air, and to expose them to the heavy dew, and then to sufier 
them to dry thoroughly in the sun, that this process was carried on after 
every coat of paint, and that it was owing to this process that the oil of old 
pictures did not become yellow. I have myself seen pictures so exposed 
at Milan. 


pupil of Mautegna's, but that he was certain from the 
manner in which his pictures were painted, that he was 
a pupil of Giorgione's or Pordenone's. He said it 
was more diflElcult to imitate Correggio than any 
other painter. He spoke of his (Correggio's) St Je- 
rome, at Parma, which he said was the finest picture 
ever painted, and stated that Correggio had painted the 
figure of St, Jerome in two days. The first day he 
painted the head and balf the body, passing from the 
top of the shoulder to the wrist witii one stroke of the 
brush. The next day, he said, he began at the hips and 
finished at the toes with one stroke of the brush. ^^ This 
facility," said he, " he obtained from painting in fresco." 

I noticed that some of his own pictures had in places 
that shrivelled look which is sometimes found on 
Titian's and Palma Vecchio*s pictures, which Merimee 
mentions ^ as a proof that oil or an oleo-resinous var- 
nish had been used. 

With regard to the darks being raised above the 
surface, he said that in Correggio's St Jerome before- 
mentioned, the blue drapery was the thickness of a 
five franc piece above the rest of the picture. He 
showed me a copy he was painting of Correggio's Mar- 
riage of St Catherine, which was unfinished and with- 
out the glazings. The paint seemed to be dry and 
hard as he rapped it with his fingers, and did not shine, 
excepting a portion of the drapery. A part of the 
Virgin's red drapery was glazed ; the glazing shone like 
varnish, and was higher than the lights — that is, it 
stood up with an edge where it joined the lights. I 
have reason to think that the vehicle used was amber 
varnish. I inquired what he thought of Lionardo da 
Vinci's different processes as related by Lomazzo and 
others ; he said they were " niente, niente." That he 
(Lionardo) was always experimenting (" soffisticare "), 

1 De la Peinture k rHuilc, p. 31. 


taking up his oils with little bits of cotton, and so on, 
but the oil was of little consequence ; that when Titian 
was asked about his oil, he said, " If you have good oil, 
you can make a good picture ; if you have bad oil, you 
can still make a good picture.** 

He observed, " the Englishman Laurent (Sir T. 
Lawrence) thought the secret consisted in wax; but 
before his death he discovered his error/' He also 
observed, "some use litharge and the oxides of lead 
with their oils; but nothing can be worse for the 
pictures than oxides of lead, for they will always 
darken the colours." Signor A, also remarked that 
the difference between the methods of Titian and 
Kubens consisted in the former glazing the whole 
picture, while Rubens only glazed parts. The nu- 
merous sketches, however, left by Rubens, and the 
testimony of various writers,^ show that Rubens painted 
his pictures in a different manner, Rubens beginning 
his pictures with rich browns, then the silver gray 
shade's, then the various flesh tints ; while, according 
to Signor A., Titian began with the cold colours and 
finished with the warm ; each attaining transparency by 
a different road. 

He also observed that the old painters never used a 
mahl-stick on large pictures: that Rubens mentions 
being obliged to have recourse to one in his old age 
and in declining health.* He allowed that the Dutch 
used them on small easel pictures ;' and he said that 
the great painters used brushes with long handles, and 
stood at a great distance from their pictures ;* that the 

^ Rubens' method of colouring is described at some length by Mr. East- 
lake, * Materials,' &c., 408, 409, 483, 494—508, 616—628. 

s If I am not mistaken, this fact is related by Rubens in one of his letters. 

3 Cespides mentions a mahl>stick among the implements necessary for a 
painter. See Pacheco, p. 396. 

4 This is said to have been the case with Velasquez, and in modem 
times with our own Gainsborough. Vasari recommends that the cartoon 
should be drawn with a piece of charcoal fixed into a long cane. 


practice of keeping a youth drawing for years with 
a hard point (a pencil) was very injurious to his pro- 
gress as a painter ; that he should be taught to draw 
with his brush, which was flexible and elastic at the 
point, and which gives freedom and facility of execu- 
tion ; and that there was no practice so good to form a 
painter as fresco painting. He added, if a man is not 
a good painter at the age of 18 or 20. he never will be, 
because he will be too timid to work with proper 

Signor A. called on me again, and I inquired fur- 
ther respecting the method of Titian. He told me 
that Titian began by painting in the flesh in chiaro- 
scuro with a mixed tint, formed of biadetto, biacca, and 
a very little terra rossa. He then painted the lights 
with flesh colour, and laid by the picture to dry. 
Afler 5 or 6 months he glazed the flesh with terra 
rossa and let it dry. He then painted in the shades 
transparently (that is, without any white in the sha- 
dows), using a great deal of asphaltum with them. 
Signor A. then stated that Titian always represented 
his subjects surrounded by daylight, and reflected upon 
by surrounding objects. He also said that in a blue 
drapery he painted the shades with lake, and then laid 
on the lights [with white]. That these colours were 
laid on with great body, and when dry he took a large 
brush and spread the biadetto over the whole. ^ Signor 
A. also told me that the beautiful green used by the 
Venetian painters was an artificial pigment formed of 
copper and vitriol (he said he could not describe it 

1 SifT. Pftlmaroli (note to Marcucci, p. 230 n.) states that he succeeded 
in imitating certain blue tints in draperies by Titian and Paolo Veronese, 
by drawing and painting the shadows very transparently with the usual 
brown tint, broken with lake, next to these the blue tint composed ofsmal- 
tino and a little verdigris. The lights wore painted with white and ultra- 
marine and a little verdigris, and when dry the whole was glazed with 
ultramarine mixed with varnish. 

CXXiv INTRODUCTION. [cbat. ti. 

more accurately because he did not understand che- 
mistry), called verde lavita, or verde vita, which was 
sold so cheap that it might almost be said to be worth 
nothing.^ He added, that all the colours used by the 
Venetians were cheap and common ; but that they 
were made valuable by their mode of using them. He 
said, " You may use the biadetto as I have directed 
you with all the Venetian impasto, but in two years 
it will become green*** (meaning to say it could only be 
used with his vehicle, which he did not describe). I 
said that in England painters mixed varnish with the 
colours, and that the pictures cracked. He replied, 
^^ that was because they painted with the colours mixed 
with varnish before the under colours were dry ;" but, 
he added, painters did not all adopt Titian's manner ; 
some could paint a picture in four hours; Bubens 
painted his Descent in nine days ; and painters could 
so temper their colours that they could complete a 
picture as fast as their hands could execute it; that 
their vehicle gave them complete command over their 
materials, and that every one added more or less of 
" certe droghe " (certain drugs), according to their 
con^'enience and manner of working. 

Sig. A. has an accurate and most extensive know- 
ledge of all the writers on painting, and seems to know 
every thing in these authors that bears on technical 
points. He quoted passages from Vasari, Kidolfi, 
Bellori, Zanetti, Guarienti's * Abecedario,' &c. * I asked 
him whether he knew anything of Errante's paintings 
at Home, and of the work he had written,' the object 
of which was to recommend the addition of ground 

1 The Venetians used " verde eterno/* which is crystallised or puri- 
fied verdigris, sometimes called distilled verdigris. 

2 It is well known that biadetto and other blues from copper cannot be 
used with oil without turning green. See Palomino, vol. ii. p. 52. Paolo 
Veronese frequently mixed them with size instead of oil. See Boschini, 
Ricche Minere ; and Baldinucci, Vita di Paolo Veronese. 

' Saggio sui Coloriy del Cav. D. Giuseppe £rrante, Roma, 1817. 


rock-crystal and " sraalti " to the colours. Sig. A, 
replied, that it was " Niente, niente," and added, " see 
what his pictures become in a few years/' But he did 
not explain in what respect the pictures had suffered. 

Sig. A. showed me a picture by Bamboccio (Peter 
Van Laer), and at the same time informed me he pos- 
sessed a black mirror which was used by this artist 
in painting, and in which the subject was reflected, 
** exactly," he said, " like a Flemish landscape ;" ** and 
then," he added, " they had only to paint what they 
saw in the mirror."* This mirror was bequeathed by 
Bamboccio to Gaspar Foussin ; by the latter to some 
other painter, until it ultimately came into the hands 
of Sig. A. 

In order to prevent insects from eating the panels, 
Sig. A. stated that roche-alum should be mixed with 
the grounds. He also told me that to destroy the 
insects which had already got into the wood or ground of 
pictures, some assafcetida and sulphur should be burnt 
in an open vessel, over which the back of the picture 
should be placed at a proper distance ; the whole should 
be then covered in, so as to enclose the smoke arising 
from these ingredients, which will effectually destroy 
the insects. The picture may afterwards be washed, if 
necessary, but the sulphur will not injure the painting. 
Assafcetida and garlic were both used by the old 
masters for these purposes.' 

Sig A. thinks the old masters used madder-lake, and 
that they burned it to make it darker. 

Verona. — We breakfasted this morning with Count 
-, who had invited an artist, principally employed 

in restoring pictures, to meet us. Among other things 
this artist said that ultramarine was the only blue pig- 

1 See Du Fresnoy, de Arte Grapfaica, 1. 286, and the Commentary of 
De Piles. 

> See Pacheco, Tratado, p. 382, &e. Palomino, vol. ii. p. 49. 


ment used by the old masters. That they did not use 
red-lead, but other colours mixed to imitate it; that 
the Venetians used cochineal lakes. That if they laid 
oil upon oiV they waited a year between each painting. 
That there are few painters who have painted so many 
times over their pictures as Titian; that he did not 
apply asphaltum over the surface of the picture, but that 
he used a yellow varnish ; that the old masters did not 
use oil-varnish in painting ; that if new pictures were 
exposed to the sun they would crack to a certainty, 
unless they were previously wetted, when the process 
might be repeated several times. (This reminds me of 
what I had been previously told about exposing pictures 
to the dew as well as to the sun.) That the canvass 
was never primed on both sides. He stated that he 
had found on a picture of Titian's a coat of thin ge.sso, 
then a coat of very strong glue, made from pig*s-skin, 
very hard and shining, upon which the picture was 
painted.* I inquired whether the plan described by 
Sig. A., of getting in the chiaro-scuro with a blueish 
tint, was that of Titian ? He said it was not. That 
he painted his pictures first with colours of great body, 
and then finished with glazings. Sig. A. also said he 
painted his colours with great body at first. This artist 
mentioned a kind of strong glue called crocante^ the 
nature of which I have not been able to ascertain. 
He prepared his linseed-oil first by straining it ; he 
then put white-lead into a sieve and filtered the oil 
through it, when all impurities remained behind in the 
lead, but he never boiled it. He always found that 
Guimet's ultramarine, mixed with this oil, turned black. 

1 To understand this expression, it is necessary to state that I had been 
previously informed tliat the Venetians painted the solid colours at once 
with oil, and finished with varnish, so that one layer of colour mixed with 
oil was not laid on another. 

s That this coat of hard glue is frequently laid between the ground and 
the picture is proved by £dwards*s Report, p. 888. This glue rendered 
the ground non-absorbent, of which he did not approve. 


Venice. — I was introduced to Sig, B., an artist 
who had been long employed in restoring the public 
pictures. He had then just dead-coloured a copy he 
was making of a picture by Gian Bellino, The dead- 
colouring of the flesh was not so blue in the shades as 
Sig. A.'s. There was more red with it ; indeed the 
dead-colouring seemed conducted exactly in the same 
manner as I have seen it done by artists in England, 
The blue drapery was dead-coloured with bleu de 
Berlin. The following is a summary of the information 
I obtained from this artist. 

1. The grounds consisted of nothing but gesso and 
glue, which absorbed the superfluous oil. 

2. The dead-colouring was always painted with cold 
colours, the lights white, and the shades warm;^ you 
may then make your picture any thing you please. 

3. The warm colours were always glazed, over the 
more solid tints. 

4. The vehicle he used for every part of the picture 
was linseed-oil, boiled on litharge, which was of a high 
colour, indeed almost black, and which he purchased in 
bottles imported from Germany. He also showed me 
another bottle containing linseed-oil thickened in the 
sun, and mixed with litharge ; more than half the con- 
tents of this last bottle was a black sediment He said 
he required nothing thinner to dilute the colours ; he 
never used spirit of turpentine or varnish in painting. 
He used bladder-colours. The lake he mixed with his 
boiled oil, and it stood up on the palette, and when put 
on his nail did not flow. He said he exposed his 
pictures to the sun after every process of painting; that 
this never occasioned their cracking, and that he did 
not wet them before exposing them to the sun. He 
paints on the plan always observed in the Venetian 

1 The first shades in the picture he was copying were painted in cold 
colours. He must have meant that the shades when finished were to be 

cxxvui INTRODUCTION. [chap. vr. 

school. He does not know the Flemish method, or 
that of Rubens. He knows that his own method is 
that pursued by the Venetians, from the frequent 
opportunities he has had of observation when cleaning 
their pictures. Sig. B. said that Titian did put red 
shades under his blue draperies.^ He also said, " If 
yoii paint your half tints cold, your shades warm, 
and your lights white, you may glaze your picture 
to whatever tone you like." 

Sig. B. observed that the Venetians used little 
besides earths, and never orpiment; but that the 
modern Romans use it in great quantity. 

There was a most beautiful deep lake-coloured 
drapery in an old picture in the room where he was 
painting. I asked with what colour was that done? 
He shook his head, and said he did not know, but that 
the dead-colouring was done with much white, and 
when dry it was glazed with lake until it was suffi- 
ciently dark. 

I asked why in old pictures the darks were always 
raised higher than the lights ? He said it was because 
the painters went over them a great many times. I 
remarked that the blites are always more in relief than 
any other colour. In this he agreed, but assigned no 
further reason. His knowledge seemed entirely practi- 
cal, and his practice derived from his restorations of 
old pictures. He said Titian used asphaltum, and 
that blue draperies were glazed with ultramarine. 

Sig. C, another artist, who had been frequently 
employed during the last thirty years in restoring the 
public pictures at Venice, informed me that Titian 
generally painted on a ground of glue and gesso, but 
great care was necessary, when this ground was used on 
canvass, to make it soft and pliant ; the best means of 

1 See p* czxiii., cxxix. 



securiDg this was to add some milk to the glue and v^ 
gesso. That the use of this gesso ground was to absorb 
the superfluous oil. 

He also observed, that Titian sometimes used a 
ground composed of terra rossa, with oil. That he 
laid in the subject in the natural colours, or as nearly 
as he could to nature, only much fainter, and thin of . 
colour, and when dry painted in the colours more ^ 
solidly; but that he always painted the shades cold. ^ 
He then put the picture by for a year, and corrected 
it by glazing. That Titian generally used nothing but 
oil ; that he sometimes went seven, eight, or nine times 
over the same part,' with oil glazings, which is the 
reason why his paintings become more yellow than 
others ; that he sometimes glazed with varnish. That ^ 
he did not put red under the shades of his blue 
draperies ; but that when this appearance was perceived 
it arose from his having used a red ground, and when 
the blue became thin by being rubbed ofi^ the red 
ground appeared through. That the blue used formerly 
was called " Turchino,** that it may still be purchased, . 
that some old painters still use it, and that it is very 
apt to turn green. I mentioned that Baldinucci said 
that Paul Veronese laid on the blue in distemper. He 
said it was the fact, and that many restorers did not 
know it until they found it out by taking off the colour 
unintentionally in cleaning it. That some of Paul 
Veronese's blues turned green; but those that best 
retained their colour were found to have been painted 
in distemper. 

Sig. C. observed that Titian and Paul Veronese both 
painted " con colori di corpo,** that they suffered the 
colours to dry thoroughly before they painted on them 
again, and this hard, dry body of colours enabled them 
to apply the glazings and sfregazzi.^ 

I See'Zanetti, della Pittura Veneziana, p. 102. ^ See note, p. 879. 
VOL. I. i 


That the brilliant reds were obtained by glazing lake 
over terra rossa ; that the terra rossa they had formerly 
is now lost ; that the best is now brought from Spain.^ 

That for a green drapery, Titian began with terra 
verde, with, perhaps, giallolino for the lights. When 
dry he glazed the whole with verdigris, and the shades 
with asphaltum ; both these colours might be rubbed in 
with the hand. Sometimes he glazed with asphaltum 
without the verdigris, when he required a warm rich green. 

That asphaltum could be easily dissolved for use in 
spirit of turpentine. 

That litharge mixed with oils was very bad for the 
picture; *and that it corroded the paint, as well as 
darkened the colours. 

I saw Sig. C. on the following day, when I again 
cross-examined him. The following is the substance of 
the replies elicited : — 

That he had never heard of mixing powdered glass 
with oil or colours. 

That he had heard of encaustic painting, but not of 
mixing wax with oil. 

That he had never heard of dissolving resins in oil, 
and thus making an oil varnish.^ 

1 I am inclined to believe that the red earth, called sinopia, was a finer 
colour than any of the iron ores now in use as pigments. I have frequently 
noticed a red of this description on old mural paintings in Italy; and I have 
also seen specimens of a fine red colour in a dry state in a volume of draw- 
ings by Lionardo da Vinci, in the possession of Sig. G. Vallardi, at Milan. 
Some of these drawings had been executed on the paper of which the 
books used for keeping leaf gold were made. Before the gold was laid in 
these books, the leaves were rubbed over with dry sinopia, as we read in 
Theophilus (lib. i. cap. 24), and the above instance proves that the custom 
was continued in Italy at least until the time of Lionardo da Vinci. 

* As far as I could ascertain, oleo-resinous varnishes are not only obsolete 
in the north of Italy, but they appear to be almost entirely forgotten. 
When living artists mentioned the colours being mixed with oil and varnish, 
they always alluded to the mixture of an essential oil- varnish with linseed 
or nut-oil. In one instance only had I reason to think an oleo-resinous var- 
nish was habitually employed by a living artist. 


That he had never heard of placing pictures in the 
sun, unless it was for the purpose of cracking a new 
picture to make it look like an old one. 

That the reason why old pictures cannot be repaired 
with oil colours, is that the oil in the old picture has 
undergone all its changes, that the new tints are made 
to match the old with oil that will change ; and when 
this change takes place the colours darken, and cease 
to match the old paint. 

That all restorations are now done with colours mixed 
with varnish ; that Sig. Pietro Edwards was the first 
who introduced this practice. 

Sig. C. then remarked that the reason why spirit of 
wine dissolved old oil paintings, and not new ones 
painted entirely in oil, was because the greater part of 
the oil was dried up, and no more remained in the 
picture than was sufficient to hold the paint together. 
In other words, that the oil of the old picture was con- 
verted into a resin, and, like other resins, was soluble 
in spirit of wine. 

That the Venetians did not paint on gold grounds 
after the time of Titian. 

That the Venetians sometimes laid a coat of white- 
lead and oil over the gesso ground. 

With regard to the use of ultramarine, he observed 
that it was occasionally used by the Venetians, chiefly 
on easel pictures. That as this colour was a stone, and 
not a metal, it never changed colour ; but that if used 
with oil, in time the oil would dry and leave it, and 
the colour would come off in powder. That it should 
be used in distemper, and then it would last ; that all 
those painters whose blues have stood, have applied 
them in distemper. 

He also stated that the lake used by the Venetian 
painters was called " Lacca di Cambaneri o di Ver- 
zino ,•"* that it may still be purchased at Venice ; that 

1 If this lake was made of verzino, it should probably have been called 
<* Lacca ColombiDa." 

i 2 


it was always glazed, and used with varnish ; that it will 
not stand with oil. That the blue tinge of the lake in 
old pictures was occasioned by adding blue to the lake. 

That the Venetians and Titian glazed with varnish. 

That red-lead might be used with boiled oil, because 
as the oil was already oxidised to the highest d^ree, it 
would not de-oxidise the red-lead (deutoxide of lead), 
which would therefore not change. 

He said also that Paolo Veronese had originally 
glazed his red-leads with giallolino, which had been re- 
moved in cleaning ; and that the rich bright yellow colour 
I had noticed in P. Veronese's picture was gamboge. 

That the Venetians of the present day make great 
use of madder-lake ; and that the old Venetian school 
also possessed this pigment, because the madder-plant 
grows in the neighbourhood of Venice.^ 

Sig. G. also informed me that Titian glazed much 
with asphaltum, and that in glazing he used an essential 
oil varnish, such as aqua di ragia.' 

He stated also, that the very fine hs^ir-like cracks in 
old pictures were the effect of time only.' 

He mentioned that distemper was frequently em- 
ployed on early oil-pictures, particularly on parts that 
it was feared would turn yellow, such as white linen. 

With regard to the method of Titian, he observed 
that Titian always softened the shades of flesh with his 
fingers ; and that he used sometimes nut-oil, and some- 
times linseed-oil, and sometimes both together; but 
that linseed-oil was the best, because the nut-oil soon 
became rancid, and when mixed with the colours under- 
went a sort of fermentation. 

1 This reasoning is not conclusive, and it is probable that the Yenetian 
madder was not the best, since in 1566 madder was imported for dyeing by 
the Venetians from Flanders, under the name of ^'robbia o vero rozadi 
Fiandra." See * Libro intitolato Plicto,' Yenezia, 1565. 

* If this be true, whence arise the wrinkles so frequently observed on 
Titian's pictures, which can only take place on the tough surface of the oil ? 

3 If so, why do not those of Van £yck, Lucas Van Leyden, Hamme- 
link, Antonello da Messina, Francesco Francia, and others of that period 
crack also ? 


From what this gentleman said I collect that he 
deems the rapid drying of the vehicle to be of the first 
importance to the permanence of the colours, which 
were not likely to change when once dry, and that it is 
better to use a dark-coloured oil which will not change 
than any of a lighter colour which will change. 

Sig. D., an eminent artist, called on me this evening 
for the purpose of describing the methods of painting 
practised by Titian and others of the Venetian school. 

He began by stating that the only artists to be con- 
sidered as examples in the mechanical part of the art 
are Gian Bellino, Giorgione, Titian, Bonifazio, and the 
two Bassans. That the decline of the art is to be 
attributed to Tintoretto, who, to save expense, used 
bad colours in his immense pictures, and to Falma 

The following was the plan generally adopted by 
the first-mentioned artists : — 

The grounds were made with gesso and a very thin 
glue ; sometimes a little black was added to this by 
Gian Bellino and others- Over this one or two coats 
of glue were applied to prevent the ground being too 

The glue was made of parings of leather. 

An analysis of some pictures by Gian Bellino 
showed they were painted in the following manner and 
order : — 

The ground as above. 

Then the outline with ink. 

The chiaroscuro painted very thin with brown. 

Then the first flesh colour, very rosy, the colour 
being spread thin. 

Second coat of flesh colour made browner, with more 
yellow, also very thin. 

Third coat thin, and with more white, to match the 


This manner of painting keeps the flesh light and 
clear, because it permits the white grounds and the 
rosy tints to be seen through.* 

These colours are all mixed with oil, but the coats 
of paint being so thin, the colours dry quickly and hard 
before the oil has had time to become rancid. 

The flesh was finished with glazings of asphaltum. 

Draperies. — The lights and shades strongly con- 
trasted, the lights pure white or nearly so. 

The darks consisted of the pure colour. 

Then the glazings with the local transparent colours. 

The whole figure, drapery, &c., finished with glasangs 
of asphaltum and terra di Cologna,^ not much burnt. 

Asphaltum was mixed with olio di sasso (naphtha) 
or spirit of turpentine. 

No part of paintings in oil was executed in distemper. 

Titian generally began his pictures like Gian Bellino, 
but instead of painting the flesh three times only, he 
painted over it four, five, or six times ; consequently 
the ground would not absorb all the superfluous oil, 
which rose to the top and darkened the picture. 

That he frequently laid on the paint with his fingers. 

That he did not paint with a thick coat of colour, 
but always used his colours thin, for the reason given 

That he frequently covered the whole picture except 
the white linen with asphaltum. 

He painted no part in distemper. 

Bonifazio glazed more than any of the others. 

Giorgione began like Gian Bellino and Titian. Did 
not lay in any part of the picture with distemper. 

Paolo Veronese painted generally alia prima with 

^ As to the lights in early oil paintings being semi- opaque, see Mr. East- 
lake's * Materials/ &c., p. 408. 

2 I am not aware that Cologne earth is mentioned in Italian M-orks, at 
lea^t previous to the 17th century. The colour might have been terra di 


more body than Titian (whose patience he appeared to 
want), so that the finished picture was little more than 
the abbozzo ; that is, that he painted up his picture at 
once. • 

That he did not employ distemper on his pictures ; 
but with regard to the appearance of distemper ob- 
served on his pictures, it had been remarked that the 
pictures in the churches in Venice that had hung on 
south walls for a great many years had the appearance , 
of tempera paintings because the sun had di^ied up all 
the oil, and that the colours of these pictures would 
wash oflf with water. 

That the old Venetians always exposed their pictures 
to the sun, and the dew even, for five or six months, in 
order to prevent their becoming yellow ; that he himself 
had always done this, and without the least injury to 
his pictures. 

That he had never found glue, &c., between the pic- 
ture and the varnish in old pictures, but that this was 
the modern practice, because the varnish spread and 
adhered better on the glue than on the oil. 

He said also that Damara varnish has been found in 
old pictures, and not mastic^ which is modern.* 

That varnish is found mixed with the paint and oil 
in old pictures. 

That he had never heard of colours having been 
mixed with vernice liquida, as described by Cane-' 
parius,* and thinks this practice must have been intro- 
duced after the decline of the art. 

Sig. D. also mentioned that Chilone, an old painter 
who died about seven or eight years ago, was acquainted 
with Canal and Canaletto, and that he had told Sig. D. 
that these artists used oil boiled on litharge, and re- 

1 It is almost unnecessary to remark that mastic was used by the old 
masters, and that Damara resin appears to be only recently introduced. 

* Canepario was a Venetian ])by8ician. His work, De Atramentis, was 
published in London in 1660. 


commended him to use it also, and that they frequently 
spread it over the whole picture. 

That mastic varnish was sure to crack if used in 
painting pictures, but that Damara varnish was not so 
strong and would not crack. 

The reason the darks stood higher than the lights on 
old pictures was because the painter went over them so 
often, and generally mixed varnish with them. 

He said the oil always rose to the sur&ce of the 
picture and dried dark; that they (the restorers of 
pictures) take off this crust of oil with potash. 

That the green used by the Venetians was verd! 
etemOj and when used with oil the sur&ce turns black ; 
that when cleaning pictures the crust is scraped off and 
the green beneath is found as fine a colour as ever. 

He told me also that he had made experiments by 
taking qff some of the colours with a knife, and had 
had them analysed by a very skilfiil chemist (now 

The following are the colours he has found on Vene- 
tian pictures of the best period : — 

White-lead, yellow, red, and other earths, ultra- 
marine, native cinnabar,^ cinabro d'OUanda, verd' 
eterno, Cologne earth, asphaltum, lakes of kermes and 
madder ; Naples yellow, very seldom used ; orpiment, 
used by Bonifazio only; red-lead, very seldom used, 
and always with varnish ; biadetto and verzino lake, 
used by Tintoretto only ; verd' eterno and lake, always 
laid on with varnish. 

Sig. D. stated that he had found no blue but ultrl- 

marine, and the reason this colour was raised so much 

f above the surface of the pictures on draperies was that 

\ it was used very thick, because as it was coarsely 

ground it would otherwise look granular and show the 

white through. 

1 Probably the hard red haematite, which was called ''dnabro minerale** 
by the Italians. 


With regard to the grinding of the colours, he ob- 
served that the Venetians did not grind their colours / 
fine, and that he has often picked out large grains of 
different colours which he has had analysed. 

As to the propriety of early varnishing, he said 
that the Venetians did not varnish their pictures 
soon after finishing if they could avoid it, but that 
early varnishing was safer where the coats of colour 
had been thin than where they were laid on in great 

He also remarked that many Venetian pictures which . 
had hung in churches on northern walls had been 
destroyed by damp,' while those on south waUs had, 
i>y the drying away of the oil, assumed the appearance 
of paintings in distemper. 

In reply to my inquiry how he had ascertained the 
number of the coats of colour on pictures, hor replied, 
" By taking them off one after another with ^ knife.** 

Sig. D. told me he generally used fresh linseed-oil 
unboiled; that he had once filtered the oil through 
animal charcoal, but that this rendered it too thin. 
The only preparation he used habitually was to filter 
the oil through four or five sheets of paper. 

In consequence of what Sig. D. told me concerning 
the painting of Paolo, I inquired of Sig. C whether 
coUa (glue or size) had ever been found on the pictures 
of Paolo : he said, " Yes, certainly.'* But he did not 
know that it had been found on the oil-paintings of any 
other person.* 

Having frequently observed in Paolo's pictures at 

^ £ztraordinary precautions were sometimes taken at Venice to defend 
oil-paintings from damp. See p. 880, n. 

< See Oraini, Elogio e Memorie di Pietro Perugino, 208, n., where it is 
stated that the blue in a picture by this artist at Montone was tempered 
with flour-{)a8te, or starch (colla di farina). A part of Van Eyck's cele- 
brated altar-piece at Ghent was painted in distemper. This discovery was 
made accidentally by some ignorant painters washing off the colour in clean- 
ing it. See also Pachoco, Tratado de la Pintura, p. 373. 

CXXXVlii INTRODUCTION. [chaf. vi. 

Venice that the colour appears laid on at once, the 
dark threads of the canvass being visible on great part 
of the picture without any appearance of a ground, I 
inquired the reason of this appearance, and why the 
white threads of the canvass should appear black. Sig. 
C. told me it was because Paolo frequently painted 
without any other ground than a little colloy just suffi- 
cient to bind the loose downy threads of the canvass 
t and enable the brush to move freely ; that this being 
absorbent the oil soaked into the canvass and turned it 
black, or nearly so. 

It will perhaps be recollected that Pozzo, the Jesuit^ 
generally painted without a ground, for he said the 
gesso caused the colours to change.* Callot, the Vene- 
tian, painted on the same kind of ground. 

I mentioned having been informed that Titian had 
begun his pictures in chiaroscuro, and alluded to his 
early picture in the gallery Manfrin ; but Sig. C. would 
not allow that it was painted in this manner, and he 
denied that Titian ever began his pictures in this way, 
but that he always laid in the abbozzo with the local 
colours, but very thinly and light in colour. In support 
of his opinion Sig. C. said there was an unfinished pic- 
ture by Titian at Udine, in which part of the abbozzo 
may still be seen, having never been covered over. 
The S. Sebastian in the Barbarigo palace is another 
example by Titian of an abbozzo in his last manner. 
From the passage in Paolo Pino's Dialogue it appears 
that the practice of beginning pictures in chiaroscuro 
with brown was discontinued some time previous to 
1548, the date of Pino's work. The probability is that 
Titian painted in his youth in the Flemish manner, but 
that he afterwards changed it to that usually ascribed 
to him. 

In the Manfrini gallery is a picture said to have been 
painted by Titian when he was only sixteen years of 

I Sec Lanzi, vol. ii. p. 228. 


age. This picture is evidently painted in the manner 
described by Sig. D., that is, the chiaroscuro with 
brown and the flesh colours upon this ; the lights of the 
draperies are white, and the' local colours glazed over it 
when dry : this is seen where the lake has been nearly 
all rubbed off. 

I inquired of Sig. C. whether he had found the de- 
scription given by Boschini * of Tintoretto's method of 
painting correct. He replied that Tintoretto did not 
begin his pictures in chiaroscuro, but that he made the 
sketch in water-colours in chiaroscuro, and then oiled 
it ; and when it was dry he painty in the local colours 
with oil. Several of these sketches, he told me, were 
in the possession of Sig. Bernardino Corniani. 

I inquired of Sig. C. whether it was true that pic- 
tures which had been hung for a very long period of 
time (say 100 or 200 years) on a south wall were 
found in a different state from those which had hung on 
other walls. He answered "Yes: those which have 
been hung on north walls are always found destroyed 
by the damp, or at least much injured ; because the 
damp dissolves the glue of the ground and the picture 
scales off, while those on the south walls are always 
found dried up and burnt from the effects of the sun." 

I also inquired his authority for saying that colours 
were frequently mixed with milk ; he replied, " It is 
an old tradition ; milk was much used by the ancients, 
and is mentioned by Pliny." 

Another day I observed to the same professor, if 
the Venetians always required so long a period for 
their colours to dry before they laid on anotjier coat of 
paint, how could those pictures be painted that were 
said to be executed in so short a time? He replied 

1 SeeRicchc Minere. Boschini, speaking of Tintoretto, says, ^* Abboz- 
zava il quadro tiitto di chiaroscuro, havendo scmpro oggetto principalc di 
conccrtarc tutta la massa come a' e dctto," &c. 

Cxl INTRODUCTION. [chap, vt 

that Tintoretto had painted his Crucifixion entirely in 
twelve days, but that he had painted it up at once, 
without touching the same part twice, consequently 
without glazing. I asked whether this, picture was in 
good preservation ; his answer was " Benone ** (excel- 
lent). Sig. C. told me also this picture was painted 
on a ground of flour-paste*^ 

Signor G. told me it had been found that Paolo 
Veronese's pictures were painted in the following man- 
ner and order : — 

A ground of gesso. 

The abbozzo. 

The solid painting with colours mixed with oil. 

A light coat of varnish. 

Then the blues, vermilions, red lead, and white 
linen (biancheria), as well as the vermilion tints in 
flesh, were laid on in distemper, and over the whole 
picture was a coat of varnish. He. added, the tints in 
distemper were so firmly united, that they would 
sometimes bear washing twice without being disturbed, 
and that the restorers were ignorant of the manner in 
which they were painted, until, having removed the 
varnish, they found the colours soluble in water. 

I asked, how could the distemper colours be made 
to adhere upon oil colours? He said the distemper 
colours mixed with size and milk, adhered firmly to 
the thin coat of varnish, before mentioned. 

Signor C. also said that Paolo used a general tint, 
composed of Cologne earth, or some other brown pig- 
ment, a little white lead, a little blue, and a very little 
terra rossa, which he spread thinly over the shadows. 

1 ** La prontezza z^ meterse davanti 
Una gran tela, e de farina propia 
Tamisar, e impastar figure in copia, 
£ scnza natural, far casi tanti.*' 

Boachini, La Carta del Navegar, p. 839. 


(which had been previously prepared with a grey tint,) 
sometimes a velatura^ sometimes a sfregazzoj and that 
he used this tint on every part of the picture, even on 
the heads.^ 

Speaking one day of the hardness of the old pic^ 
tures, that when tried with the file, they scaled o^ and 
presented almost a glassy surface, Signor C. said he 
had experienced this, but attributed it merely to the 
viscous nature of the oil, and the varnish with which 
it was mixed. 

He also told me the pictures of Cima da Conegliano 
were painted with solid colours in a light key, and that 
the shades were laid on transparently with asphaltum. 
This also was discovered in the cleaning of his pictures ; 
when the varnish was removed, the shades came away 
with it« , 

Signor C. stated that the colour so much used by 
Titian in shading was not, as is generally supposed, 
terra rossa, but terra di Siena, burnt to difierent shades 
of colour, from yellowish brown to almost black. 

I asked whether Titian had painted in tempera on 
his oil-paintings ? Signor C. said No ; Paolo Veronese 
being aware that oil darkened the colours, had employed 
tempera : but he did not know of any other who had 
done so. I inquired whether Paolo glazed much ? 
He answered, " Very littie, and in the shades only." 

Did he use asphaltum ? No, not that he was aware 
of. But Tintoretto used it extensively, and some few 
used mommioj but it was not generally approved of. 

With regard to the use of oil, Signor C. said that 
Titian had used more oil than other artists of the same 
period ; that he frequently glazed with oil, although he 
sometimes used varnish. 

1 See Zanetti, della Pittura Veneziana, p. 164. 

* I observed that the blue draperies in the pictures of Tintoi'etto in the 
Scuola of S. Rocco were painted with a flat and uniform tint of colour, and 
that the shades had all disappeared, probably in cleaning. 

cxlii INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

He again mentioned that the Venetian school used 
little beside earths, and as few metallie colours as pos- 
sible ; and that the latter were used with varnish, except 
by Paolo Veronese, who applied them in distemper. 

Speaking, again, of the practice of Titian, he ob- 
served he lived to a great age, and had time to im- 
prove, and he changed his methods several times ; but 
those pictures best retain their colour which he painted 
in the manner of Gio. Bellino ; he added, also, he had 
seen one picture by Titian the colours of which were 
very brilliant, and this was painted on a ground of 
terra rossa; and he added, "I think the terra rossa 
was laid on in distemper." He mentioned that this 
picture was on a ceiling. 

Signor C. observed it was the same with Giorgione 
as with Titian; his early pictures were bright and 
clear, but the later ones were dark. He said that he 
had seen some pictures by the former as dark as could 
be. The same remark applied to Tintoretto ; but he 
said Gian Bellino *s were always transparent and 
bright.* Signor C. seemed to know nothing of the 
manner in which these pictures were painted; indeed^ 
he told me Gian Bellino did not begin his pictures in 
chiaroscuro. I then showed him the passage in Paolo 
Pino's * Dialogue,'* "disegnare le tavole con tanta 
estrema diligenza, componendo il tutto di chiaro et 
scuro, come usava Giovan. Bellino, perch^ ^ fatica 
gettata, havendosi k coprire il tutto con li colori," &c, 
Signor C. said this method was practised by the 
Roman school; but the restorers in the Venetian 
territories seem to know little or nothing of the prac- 
tice of any but the Venetian school. 

I called the attention of Signor C. to some passages 
in the Marquis Selvatico's work,* treating of the prac- 
tice of oil-painting, where it is observed that the coat 

I See Boschini, Ricche Minere. « Dialogo di Pittura, fo. 16. 

3 * Suir Educatione del Pittore storico odiemo Italiano,' Padom, 1842. 


of glue aud gesso on the panels was, from the begin- 
ning to the end of the sixteenth century, covered with 
a coat of boiled oil. I asked, had he observed this ? 
He replied he had frequently ; but he always added the 
ground should be very absorbent to get rid of the oil. 

He observed Titian never used white lead in the 
grounds. He also mentioned that Paolo Veronese 
always laid in the abbozzo with very little colour, so 
that only a faint impression of the colours should be 
left ; and if the colour was too deep, that it was some- 
times the practice to rub it down with pumice stone. 
On this abbozzo he laid the local colours solidly, but he 
seldom repeated his colours, or employed glazings; 
that many coats of pamt were never found on any part 
of his pictures. In this respect his manner was en- 
tirely opposed to that of Titian, on whose pictures they 
frequently found seven, eight, or nine coats of colour. 

Beturning again to the subject of painting parts of 
the picture in tempera, Signor C. said that he had 
found the blue painted with varnish only, and that he 
had been assured that it was frequently painted in 
distemper, and that in this case there was no oil paint 
under it, but that where the skies in Paolo's pictures had 
turned green, they had been found to be painted in oil. 

Speaking again of the old method, and of the dif- 
ferent practice of modern artists in restoring pictures, 
Signor C. observed, " I think we have lost something. 
Every artist restores in his own way, and the present 
method of painting is very bad, much worse than it 
was in the last century.*' He added, that in restoring 
he had used oil with a small quantity of thin mastic 
varnish, in which a little honey was put, and that this 
had cracked less than other vehicles. 

Signor C. said it was an error to paint with the 
colours too dry} That this was the case with the 

^ See Requeno, Sagg^i sul Ristabilimento dcH' Antica Arte de* Gred 
e Romani, vol. i. p. 163. 

cxliv INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

beautiful copy by Baroccio of Raphael's Transfigu- 
ration. When this picture was lined, the person en- 
trusted with it neglected to secure the face of the 
picture by pasting paper over it ; the consequence was, 
that when they attempted to raise the picture after 
lining it, they found that, by wetting the back in order 
to fix the new canvass, they had dissolved the ground, 
and that the picture, which had become very dry, was 
detached firom it, and had dropped to pieces, and that 
it could never be put together again properly. 

He also told me that when he had been painting 
with oil, and had found the oil penetrate through the 
gesso ground, he had laid glue and gesso on the back 
of that part where the oil had soaked through to absorb 
it,^ and when that was saturated, he had scraped it o^ 
and had laid on fresh gesso, and had repeated the 
operation until all the superfluous oil was absorbed; 
but this was only in cases where he had found it neces- 
sary to repeat the coats of oil colqur. Everything 
shows that the Venetians endeavoured to use as little 
oil as possible. 

Signor C. observed that another cause of the dark- 
ening of pictures has been the excessive use of asphal- 
tum and mummy; that many used them as solid 
colours (di corpo), whereas they should be used in 
glazing only, and very thin, and that they should be 
mixed with varnish only, and should not be ground 
with oil or spirit of turpentine. He said, also, that 
he believed mastic was not much used by the Italians 
of the time of Titian, and that those who had analysed 
Venetian pictures had never found wax in them. 

He also observed that Paolo never painted the 
abbozzo with colours tempered with water, and that yolk 

^ Merim^e (de la Peinture k THuile, p. 31) mentions having seen a 
picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in which the latter had employed a similar 
contrivance to get rid of the superfluous oil, where he had found it neces- 
sary to repaint the head. 


of egg had not been found on his pictures ; that the 
tempera vehicle used by Paolo consisted of animal glue. 
Signor C. showed me a picture painted with boiled 
oil which had not been varnished. I inquired how the 
glossy surface was produced ? he replied, "by polishing 
it with a soft cloth.'* 

I saw this morning Signor E., an artist who had 
restored some pictures by Paolo Veronese. He told 
me his plan, formed from observation of Titian's 
pictures, is to lay on the canvass a thin ground of gesso 
and glue, made of the primings of leather ; over this 
he spreads a coat of colour mixed with oil (the colour 
is drab, made, I should think, of a little umber, white, 
and a little black). The gesso ground absorbs the oil, 
which makes the back of the canvass quite yellow. On 
this ground the artist paints the whole picture with solid 
colours, mixed with raw linseed oil, without any glaz- 
ings. He says that glazings are never permanent, and 
that nothing can make them so ; and as a proof, he 
told me there were in a certain palace several pictures 
by Titian, which had always been covered by glasses. 
That he was present when the glasses were removed for 
the first time; when, to the surprise of every one 
present, the glazings were found to have evaporated 
from the pictures, and to have adhered to the inside of 
the glass. I considered this incredible, and it certainly 
appears to require proof, although it must be recol- 
lected that Lionardo da Vinci says, "II verde fatto 
dal rame, ancorche tal color sia messo a olio, se ne va 
in fiimo," &c. If the colour evaporated from the pic- 
ture, it would certainly be retained by the glass ; and 
this artist distinctly said that all the glazings were fixed 
on the inside of the glass, exactly above the painting, 
and that the effect of the different colours on the glass 
was very singular. From that time, he added, that he 
had left off glazing his pictures. 

VOL. I. k 

cxlvi INTRODUCTION. [chap, tl 

The same gentleman informed me that he had never 
found any colours in distemper on Titian's painting ; 
and that what people took for tempera painting on tihe 
pictures of Paolo Veronese was not really so, but was 
done in the following manner : — 

The first painting was executed with coloui^ mixed 
with oil, and the part to be painted on with metallic 
colours (or with such as darken with oil) was left to dry 
until it was tacky; the metallic colours were then 
applied, mixed with water only. The water evapo- 
rated, and the oil left on the picture in the first 
painting was sufficient to bind the upper layer of 
colours firmly to the picture. 

Of the Grounds used by some of the principal Painters of Bologna. 
[A oommunication from an eminent liner of pictores in that city.] 

Panels were formerly prepared with gesso only, 
applied with the pencil in the same manner as is done 
by gilders; after this, the panels received a coat of 
glue or oil to prevent the colours from sinking in. In 
this way Francesco Francia prepared his panels, and 
Samacchini,^ Sabbatini,' and Tibaldi ' both their panels 
and canvass. Then came the Garracci. Ludovico^ 
used no other priming than a thin coat of white lead 
and ochre mixed with oil, sufficiently thick to ensure a 
smooth surface, and he employed this priming as a 
shadow colour, which we know too well was the cause 
of the great change observable in his pictures. But 
Ludovico Garracci was not sufficiently remunerated for 
his pictures to enable him to incur great expenses in 
the priming. Annibale, his cousin, sometimes em- 
ployed successfully on canvass, "creta,*'* mixed with 

1 He died in 1577, aged 45. 

* Also called Andrea di Salerno, was bom about 1480, and died about 1645. 

3 Called also Pellegrini da Bologna, was born in 1527, died 1591. 

4 Bom 1555, died 1619. 

^ Is this *'creta'' the same as **geno Bolognese?" 


white lead. Instead of "creta," Guercino generally 
adopted in his early pictures a thin priming of marble 
dust and size, and his pictures are thought to owe much 
of their brilliancy to this circumstance. In his second 
manner, the priming was thicker. When lining Guer- 
cinos pictures, it is generaUy found necessary to 
remove the ground as well as the canvass. The ground 
sometimes appears to be composed of hard and gritty 
terra rossa, and which is thought to have been procured 
outside tlie Porta Castiglione at Bologna. Grounds 
are now prepared extremely well at Bologna and at 
Rome. The canvass is all the produce of Bologna, 
which province produces hemp of the finest quality. 

The most durable and unchangeable pictures are 
stated to be those painted on gesso. In the eighteenth 
century coarse open canvass, the holes of which were 
filled up with strong glue, was introduced; pictures 
painted on these canvasses were not durable, for in 
time the colours scaled off. 

The following particulars relative to the method of 
painting in oil as practised by the Farmasan School 
were communicated to me by a distinguished painter 
of Farma : — 

Ist That gesso grounds were used. 

2nd. That neither size nor varnish was laid over this 
ground, which was suffered to absorb the oil. 

3rd. That the picture was begun in chiaroscuro. 

4th. That the first colours were painted with raw nut 

5th. That in the glazings and retouchings varnish 
was used. 

I was informed that a professor of that city had 
devoted much time and attention to the study of the 
^ood method of oil-painting, and that he knew more 
about it than any other person. 

The professor had been suffering firom illness ; but at 


cxlviii INTRODUCTION. [chap. ti. 

the request of the Cav. Pezzana, of the Ducal Library 
at Parma, he kindly permitted us to pay him a short 
visit. He perfectly recollected having sent a bottle of 
varnish to an English artist, and he said that the reason 
he had not written to him was because he had lost the 
use of his hand, and could not write legibly ; that he had 
written out the recipe for some person, but that it proved 
useless, for the varnish could not be made from this 
recipe on account of the diflBculty of the manipulation. 

I asked, could he tell me the ingredients ? He said it 
consisted of amber in the natural state, and the higher 
coloured the better, dissolved in oil of spike, and this 
was rendered slower in drying by the addition of oil 
(balsam) of copaiba. 

I immediately inquired whether he had found any 
document showing it was used by Correggio ? 

He said No ; it was the result of his own observation 
and study. 

I asked whether he had ever analysed any of Cor- 
reggio's pictures ? 

He replied without hesitation, No, no ; and as I saw 
it was painful to him to talk, I took my leave. 

On my return to the library, I was told that the 
professor had analysed parts of pictures by Raphael, 
and had found amber. 

In one respect my informant was probably mistaken, 
— namely, as to the artist whose pictures had been 
analysed, since the professor had said the varnish he 
had made was that of Correggio. It appeared, however, 
quite clear that amber varnish had been found on the 
pictures of one or other of these great painters. 

§ 2. Colours used in Fftinting. 

The Italians appear generally to have exercised the 
same care in the purification and preparation of their 
pigments as the Flemish, Dutch, and French artists. 
This is apparent from the directions preserved in those 

chaf.vl] colours XJSED IN PAINTING. CxHx 

manuscripts which treat in an especial maimer of the 
manufacture of colours, but it is seldom alluded to in 
the treatises on painting. The omission in the last- 
named works is easily accounted for on the supposition 
that the different processes of washing, purifying, and 
grinding colours were taught to the students during the 
first six years of their long apprenticeship. It is pro- 
bable also that many studios possessed manuals or hand- 
books like those published in the following pages. The 
Byzantine MS. of Mount Athos, the Treatise of Cenniui, 
and several MSS. now in the British Museum, are 
works of this class. In the MS. of Le Begue several 
instances are mentioned of the loan of MSS. of this de- 
scription by different painters to Alcherius ; and Cennini 
wrote his treatise, as he himself informs us, for the 
benefit of all who studied the arts. It was, therefore, 
less necessary to introduce such directions in works of 
higher pretensions. 

Nex^ perhaps, in importance to the purification and 
preparation of the pigments was their agreement or 
incompatibility with each other. This subject occupied 
the attention of artists at a very early period; it is 
noticed in the third book of Eraclius,^ and in the Mar- 
ciana MS.* The subject is also alluded to in the 
Faduan MS. and in the Treatise ofLomazzo;' and 
these passages are usefiil in showing what pigments 
were actually mixed together by the old painters, and 
what mixtures were to be avoided. Among the latter 
were verdigris and white lead, orpiment and white lead, 
indigo and cochineal lake, Indian lac lake and white 
lead. In some cases the mixtures of pigments were 
not such as would be recommended by modern pro- 
fessors of chemistry ; but it is possible that, as the old 
masters were so select in the choice of vehicles for 
certain colours, they could regulate the drying of 

1 Cap. Ivii. p. 262. » P. 609. 

» TratUto, p. 193^195. See also Do Piles' El^mens de Pcinture, p. 1 10. 

cl INTRODUCTION. [cbaf. vi. 

these pigments in such a manner as to prevent their 
exercising any chemical agency upon each other. Bos- 
chini ^ praises the colours used by Gian Bellino, espe- 
cially the ultramarine, which, he says^ compared with 
the modems^ put the latter to shame by their greater 
vivacity and beauty. Boschini attributes this not alto- 
gether to the goodness of the colours, but to the skill 
of Bellino in every part of the art 

The choice of good pigments was another point 
which engaged the attention of artists : a few hints on 
this subject may be collected from the work of Volpato*' 
The same work also contains directions ' for burning 
earths of different colours. 

The different drying properties of the several pig- 
ments were also studied by the old painters, and the 
desiccation of some which were too long in drying was 
assisted by the addition of pounded glass^ white cop- 
peras, or verdigris, with or without boiled oil, as the 
natore of the colour required. 

The action of oil on the pigments, and especially on 
mineral pigments, was also well understood by the old 
masters; and where oil was known to be injurious, 
varnish, or, in some instances, size was substituted for it. 

White Pigments. 

Several white substances used as pigments and in the 
preparation of colours and grounds, are mentioned in 
the following treatises. The white pigment universally 
employed for oil painting is white lead, which is men- 
tioned in the MSS. under its various synonymes of 
albus, blacha, bracha, blanchet, biacca, and ceruse. It 
was called albayalde by the Spaniards. 

White lead is considered a good dryer, and is even 
used to render oil more drying ; it is, therefore, remark- 
able that it should be classed in the Brussels MS.* 

1 Riccho Minerc. « P. 745. a P. 745, 747. < P. 818. 


among the colours which do not dry well. De Piles, 
however, states * that it dries with difficulty, especially 
in winter, if ground with new oil, or if it has been 
recently ground. The * Trait6 de Mignature' of Chris- 
tophe Ballard * contains ^^ a great secret to make white 
lead dry without changing." This consists in temper- 
ing it with oil of turpentine. 

The Italians, and especially the Venetians, were ex- 
tremely careful in the preparation of their white lead,' 
which was generally purified by washing. Fra Fortu- 
nato of Bovigo, in his * Baccolta di Secreti,' gives the 
following recipe " for rendering white lead extraordi- 
narily white. Take white lead in scales, select the 
finest quality, grind it weU on marble with vinegar and 
it will become black, then take an earthen vessel full of 
water and wash your white well, and let it settle to the 
bottom, and pour oflF the water. Grind it again with 
vinegar and again wash it, and when you have repeated 
the operation three or four times, you will have white 
lead which will be as excellent for miniature painting 
as for painting in oil." ^ 

There is scarcely a doubt that the pigment called 
" lime " was the preparation of lime mentioned by 
Cennini* and Imperato,* under the name of Bianco 
San Giovanni. The lime was prepared by macerating it 
in water until it had lost all causticity. According to 
Imperato, pulverized white marble was added to the 

^ EUmens de Peinture, p. 140. 

s Ljon, 1693, 6th Ed., p. 216. The first edition was published iff 1682. 

* " Lindo alvayalde de Venecia" — " el meyor alvayalde que se hallare, 
i io es flobre todos el de Venecia.'' Paeheco, Traiado, pp. 354, 387. 

^ Per rcndere la biacca piCi bianca straordinariamente. Prendete biacca 
di piombo in acaglie, elegete la pii^ bella, e macinatela bene sul marmo con 
aceto, e diyentark nera, allora prendete un vaso di terra piena d' acqua, e 
lavata il vostro bianco bene, poi lasciatelo bene dar in fondo, e vcrrate 
]' acqua per inclinazione. Tornatela a macinarc con aceto et a lavarc ; e 
fatta questa operatione med** 3 o 4 volte, che havcra una biacca che sar^ 
perfettam** bella tanto per miniare, quanto per dipingere a olio. 

* Cap. 56. ^ Istoria Naturale, lib. iv. cap. 13. 

clii INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

lime. This pigment was used in fresco painting. It is 
known to later authors by the name of Uancho secco} 

White chalky marble ditst, gesso, the bone of cuttle 
fish, alumen^ and travertine^ were occasionally used as 
white pigments. They were also frequently mixed with 
transparent vegetable colours to give them body. 

Calcined harfs-hom or bones were used occasionally 
as a white pigment^ 

Egg-sheU white was employed in fresco painting. 
With reference to this pigment, Lomazzo ' says, that 
" there is another thing which, in fresco painting, causes 
the colours to remain unchanged as when first appUed 
on the damp lime ; and this, which is one of the rare 
inventions belonging to the technical part of the art, 
consists of the shells of eg^ finely ground, and mixed 
in greater or less proportion with all the colours." 

Terra di cava, terra da boccalij or terretta^ a white 
earth used by potters. It is mentioned by Volpato * 
and Baldinucci ^ to have been employed in the priming 
for oil paintings. 

The pigment called alumen by Eraclius ^ appears to 
have been allume scagliuola, a kind of stone resembling 
talc, of which, when calcined, is made the ''gesso da 
oro,** or gesso of the gilders, which is also used for the 
grounds of pictures. According to Eraclius^ it was 
prepared for painting by grinding with gum and water, 
and was distempered when required with white of egg. 

Travertine is a calcareous stone, sometimes light and 
porous, sometimes dense and heavy. It is of various 
colours, white, grey, yellowish, reddish yellow, and 
variegated. It is found at Pisa and Tivoli. The tra- 
vertine from Tivoli is white. It was used by painters 
to give a body to lake made from verzino. 

1 Lomazzo, Trattato, pp. 192, 194. 

s Sioane MS., No. 1754; Strasburg MS., cited by Mr. Eastlake, *Ma. 
terialB/ p. 133. ' Trattato, p. 191. 

4 P. 780. a Voc. Dis. « P. 245. ^ P* 232. 


IVhite marble is mentioned as a pigment for tempera 
painting by Palomino.* 

" A most beautiful white pigment,** probably for mi- 
niature painting, is described in the Faduan MS. * It 
is composed of powdered Venetian glass (cristallo) and 
sulphur, and is precisely similar to the opaque white 
glass used for painting pottery, for which recipes are 
given in the second and third books of Eraclius.^ 

Yellow Pigments. 

Arzica. — ^Two pigments are known by this name in 
medieval MSS. 

The first kind of arzica is mentioned by Cennini 
(cap* 50), who says that it was much used at Florence 
for miniature painting. With regard to the nature of 
the pigment, he observes merely that it is an artificial 
colour. The Bolognese MS., written about the time of 
Cennini, or soon after, proves^ that it was a yellow lake 
made from the herb ^^ gualda/* which is the Spanish 
and Froven9al name for the Reseda luteola. The plant 
has been used as a yellow dye not only in England but 
in all Europe, firom a very early period. This yellow 
lake was known to the Spanish painters under the name 
of ancorca ^ or encorca, and when used for the kind of 
painting called " estofado,'* was mixed with lemon juice 
and weak size. 

The second kind of arzica is stated to be a yellow 
earth for painting, of which the moulds for casting brass 
are formed.* A yellow loam is still used for this pur- 
pose in the foundries at Brighton. It is brought by 
sea from Woolwich, and when washed and dried it 
yields an ochreous pigment of a pale yellow colour. 

1 Miueo Ptctorioo, toI. ii. p. 113, 152. 
« P. 704. » P. 201, 206. 4 P. 483. 

ft Indioe de loa Terminoe Primativos de la Pintura, appended to Palo- 
mino's Museo Pictorico. 

< Table of Synonymes, p. 19, 23. 

cliv INTRODUCTION. [chaf. vi. 

When burnt it changes to an orange colour, which is 
likely to prove valuable in painting. 

Arzicoriy or Arsicon. — ^In the Table of Synonymes 
arzicon is considered synonymous with arziocL, This is 
not the case. Le Begue is, however, correct in saying 
that it is the same as orpiment. It is undoubtedly a 
contraction or corruption of arsenicony which Vitnivius 
(lib. vii. cap. vii.) says was tiie Greek name for orpi- 
ment. The term arzicon must not be confounded with 
azarcon^ the Spanish name for red had. 

Auripigmentum or Orpiment — ^There was a native 
as well as an artiEcial pigment known by this name. 
The former is found in masses in the neighbourhood of 
Naples, and in other volcanic countries. It has the 
great advantage over the artificial pigment of being less 
poisonous. The artificial pigment only seems to have 
been known to Cennini. ^ Being difficult to grind, 
powdered glass was mixed with it, as we are expressly 
told, for this purpose.* And Pacheco directs * that orpi- 
ment should be mixed with linseed oil, made drying by 
boiling it with red lead or copperas in powder.* For 
miniature painting it was tempered with gum-water and 
white of egg. Its brilliant yellow colour renders it a 
desirable pigment for draperies in oil painting, but it is 
not durable when mixed with oil, and dries very slowly. 
The author of the third book of Eraclius says, * ** If 
you mix oil with it, it will never dry." Lebrun re- 
marks,^ that ^' fat oil should be added to orpiment to 
make it dry. otherwise it will never dry/' Lomazzo 
also mentions '^ that it was mixed with pulverized glass, 
but he does not state for what purpose the latter was 
added. De May erne, however, states ® that Vandyck 
was accustomed to mix powdered glass with orpiment 

1 Cap. 47. « P. 603. » Tratado, p. 388. 

4 He was evidently unacquainted with the fact that lead decomposes 
orpiment. » P. 234. « P. 813. 'i Trattato, p. 192. 

8 See Mr. Eastlake's * Materials/ &c., p. 6SL 

ctujf, n.] COLOURS U8BD IN PAINTING. clv 

to make it dry. Facheco ^ recommends it for the same 
purpose ; but there is some doubt as to the propriety of 
this mixture. 

In the third book of Eraclius it is directed' that 
orpiment should be crushed in a leather bag, and then 
ground upon marble with a little calcined bone ; in this 
respect the directions resemble those given in the Strass- 
burg' and also in the Sloane MSS., No. 1754, where 
calcined hartshorn is said to be the only substance 
which can be safely mixed with orpiment to lighten it. 

Orpiment is mentioned by Biondo ^ among the pig- 
ments used by the Venetians ; and Boschini states^ that 
it was employed by Fordenone and by Faolo Veronese. 
A professor of painting at Venice informed me that he 
had found it, by analysis, on the pictures of Bonifazio 
only. It is generally asserted, and there appears every 
reason to think justly, that orpiment should not be 
mixed with any other colour, and especially with white 
lead, the bad effects of which were well known to the 
Italians.' But there is evidence that the Italians were 
in the habit of mixing it with ultramarine or with 
indigo to make a brilliant green.'' The Marciana MS.® 
recommends that white lead should be laid under orpi- 
ment, because it has no body. 

This pigment was called jalde, or oropimente, by the 
Spaniards. Facheco directs,* that for the second or 
half tints of draperies the orpiment should be burnt in 
an iron shovel over the fire. Falomino, after describing 
the method of painting draperies with orpiment, re- 
marks, ^^ that he did not approve of the colour, which 
dried very badly and required many precautions in 
using it, and that it was, moreover, liable to turn black ; 

1 Tratado, p. 888. 2 p. 289. » Materials, &c., p. 188, 488. 

* Delia Pittura, cap. 24, f. 20. & Ricche Minere. 

* See p. 609, and Armenini, lib. ii. cap. 8. 

7 Cennini, cap. 68^ 55; Borgfaini, Riposo, p. 170; Marciana MS., 
p. 611. « P. 611. » Tratado, p. 388. io:Vol. ii. p. 252. 

clvi INTRODUCTION. [chap, vi- 

this, he adds, may be prevented by varnishing it as 
soon as it is dry. 

CricdloUnOy GiaUorinOy or GialdolinOf strictly signifies 
a pale yellow. It is a diminutive of giaUo. 

There appears to be so much confusion in the ac- 
counts of this colour by different writers, that it will be 
necessary to treat of it at some length. 

According to Borghini * and Baldinucci ' there were 
two kinds of Giallolino : the first, called " Giallolino 
fino,** which was brought from Flanders, was used in 
painting in oil, and contained lead ; the other, which was 
brought from Venice, was composed of " Giallo di 
vetro " and " Giallolino fino *' above mentioned- Lo- 
mazzo ^ speaks of three kinds of Giallolino, which, he 
says, are artificial pigments, but the terms in which he 
mentions them are not sufficiently precise to determine 
exactly their names or composition. 

Sig. Branchi ^ found on analysis that the giallolino 
of the old pictures at Pistoia, mentioned in the docu- 
ments published by Ciampi, consisted of the yellow 
oxide of lead, which, he said, was known by this name 
in the sixteenth century. In support of this he quotes 
Cesalpino, who mentions a pigment then prepared fix)m 
burnt or calcined lead, which was commonly called giallo- 
lino — ^^ pigmentum pictoribus • • . quod hodie arte 
paratur ex plumbo usto, vulgoque giaUolinum vocant."^ 
And again, Cesalpino ' says, ^^ the ashes (calx) of burnt 
lead assume a yellow colour, on account of the black 
soot mixed with the white ; tin, however, gives a white 
calx.'' Painters use the former for lights and for repre- 
senting flame, calling it giallolino. Potters use the 

1 Bipofio, p. 166. > Voc Di8. 

s Tnitteto, p. 192. « Letten di Branchi, &c., p. 13. 

^ De Metallicis, lib. ii. cap. 62. « Lib. iii. cap. vii. 

7 Thomson (Annals, &c., p. 166) says, that the grey oude of tin, when 
brought to a full red heat, takes fire, and acquii'ing an excess of oxygen, 
passes to a yellow colour. 


latter tp give a white colour to their vessels.** Professor 
Branchi adds, that this is confirmed by Ferrante Impe- 
rato,* a Neapolitan writer of the same century. This 
author says, ^^ Giallolino, which is made of burnt ceruse 
(the first degree of alteration by fire), imitates the colour 
of the yellow broom." 

Dr. Fabroni/ of Arezzo, analysed the colours of a 
miniature of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth 
century, and he ascertained that the yellow pigment 
consisted of ^^ massicot,*' which, he says, is the first 
gradation of the ^^cerussa usta ** of the ancients. 

In fiirther confirmation of the above statements it 
may be observed, that neither Ceimini, Borghini, 
Lionardo da Yinci, Lomazzo, Baldinucci, nor the 
Faduan MS., mention ^^ massicot,** while they all speak 
of giaUolino.^ It may also be observed, that Lebrun, 
the author of the Brussels MS., mentions ^ no yellows 
but ochre and massicot ; the latter, he says, serves for 
the fine or bright yellows. Van Mander, Hoogstraten, 
De Bie, and Beurs,^ in enumerating the yellow pigments 
used by the Flemings, mention ochre, massicot, and yel- 
low lake, to which all but De Bie add orpiment. Bulen- 
gems ^ also names massicot, which he calls '^ fin jaune.** 

As a fiirther proof of the identity of these pigments, 
it may be observed, that Haydocke, the translator of 
Loma2zo*s Treatise on Fainting, published in 1598, 
trsinslates^giaUoUnohy die word massicot'^ The lastau- 

1 Istoria Natarale, lib. iv. cap. 42. 

* Ricerche Chimiche sopra le Miniature di un Manuscritto, Memoria 
del Dh A. Fabroni di Arezzo, lettanelle Adunanze Accademiche de' 13 
Genn. e 17 Febb. 1811. 

s See Cennini, Trattato, cap. 46. Borghini, Riposo, p. 166. Lionardo 
da Vinci, Trattato, cap. 352, 353. Lomazzo, Trattato, p. 191, 192, 193, 
&c. Baldinucci, Voc. Dis. 

* Cap. 1, No. 6 ; cap. 7, No. 5. 

6 See Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials,' &c., p. 438, 440. 

^ De Pictura, &c., lib. ii. cap. iii. 

^ A Tracte, containing the Artes of curious Pdnting, Cairing, and Build- 

clviii INTEODUCnON. [chip. 

thority is particularly valuable on account of the trans- 
lation having been made so soon after the publication 
of the original work. 

Lomazzo mentions ^ ^^ Giallolino di fomace di Fian* 
dra e di Alamagna." From this it would appear that 
two kinds of Giallolino were brought from the north 
into Italy. These were probably the two kinds of 
massicot mentioned by Felibien, who states * tiiey were 
made of calcined lead, '* Le massicot jaune et le massi- 
cot blanc," or as they are called in Jombert's edition 
of the Fl&mens de Peinture, ^^ le massicot dor^ et le 
massicot pale." Haydocke translates the above-men- 
tioned passage thus, ^^ Yeallowe of the Flaunders for- 
nace, and of Almany, commonly called masiieot and 

There is no doubt, therefore, that the ^^ Giallolino 
Fino " and " Giallolino di Fomace di Fiandra " was 
massicot, or the yellow oxide of lead, the ^^ Fin jaune " 
of the French. 

The yellow pigment prepared from lead is described 
by Theophilus (cap. i.), who, however, does not give 
it a name. The same pigment is mentioned in tlie 
MS. of Le Begue. 

We now come to the second kind of factitious giallo- 
lino which Baldinucci ' states was brought from Venice, 
and was composed of the giallolino di Fiandra and 
giallo di vetro. Borghini says^ nearly the same. In 
the Bolognese MS. No. 272, is a recipe for " Vetrio 
giallo per patrenostro o ambre," the ingredients of 
which are lead 1 lb. and tin 2 lbs., melted and calcined. 
The recipe which follows this, No. 273, is entitled " A 
fare zallolino * per dipengiare," and the directions are to 

ing, written first in Italian by Jo. Paul Lomatius, punter, of Milan, and 
Englished by R. H. (Haydocke), student in physick, 1598, p. 99. 

1 Trattato, p. 191. « Trincipes, &c., p. 299. 

3 Voc. Dis. * Eiposo, p. 166. 

^ It will not escape observation that the gi in this word are changed into 
Zf as was usual among the Venetians. 


take 2 lb& of the above-mentioned glass, 2h lbs. of 
minium, and ^ lb, of sand from the Yal d'Arno : the 
ingredients are to be pulverized finely, and then refined 
in the furnace. I can scarcely doubt that this is the 
second kind of giallolino mentioned by Baldinucci and 
Borghini It may also be the third variety mentioned 
by Lomazzo.^ 

It must be observed that Marcucci does not men- 
tion giaUolino among the modern Italian pigments; 
he describes* three yellow pigments, namely, gtaUo di 
Napoli (Naples yellow), which he says is composed of 
the yellow oxide of lead and the oxide of antimony, 
mamcoty or the yellow oxide of lead, nxid giaUo mineralej 
which was composed of muriate of lead. 

The earliest notice I have met with in Italian writers 
of a pigment called Naples yellow, is in the work of 
Pozzo the Jesuit^ The name he applies to the pig- 
ment is ^^ Luteolum Bomse dicitur Luteolum Napoli- 
tanum,'' and he enumerates it among the pigments to 
be used in firesco. He also gives a list of colours 
improper for this kind of painting, among which we 
find cerussa, minium, and luteolum Belgicum, which 
can be no other than giallolino di Fiandra. The con- 
clusion then is unavoidable that the luteolum Napoli- 
tanum was not the yellow oxide of lead. In the French 
translation of Fozzo's Treatise on Fresco-painting ^ the 
term luteolum Napolitanum is very properly translated 
Jaune de Naples, and luteolum Belgicum by Jaune 
de Flandres. In other parts of Jombert^s edition of the 
'E16mens de Peinture," two kinds of massicot, the 
yellow or golden and the pale or white, are mentioned ; 
but they are not identified with jaune de Naples, which 

1 Trattato, p. 192. > Saggio, &c., p. 66. 

s The Treatise on Fresco Painting, appended to his work on Perspective, 
published at Rome, 1693—1702. 

4 See Jombert's ed. of the El^mens de Peinture, by De Piles, Plaris, 1766. 
B £)6mens de Peinture, pp. 252, 286, &c. 

clx INTRODUCTION. [chap.ti. 

is mentioned as a distinct colour. The Italian trans- 
lator of Pozzo's treatise ^ renders luteolum Napolitanum 
by giallolino di fornace, which he says is called giallo- 
lino di Napoli, and luteolum Belgicum by giallolino di 
Francia. This writer does not appear to have been 
aware that giallolino di fornace and giallolino di 
Fiandra were synonymous. Giallolino di Francia ap- 
pears to be a mistake for giallolino di Fiandra. 

Ffelibien,* Pomet,* Pozzo/ and the author of the 
article "Fresque" in the Encyclopfedie describe the 
pigment jaune de Naples as a natural production found 
near mines of sulphur, which is used in fresco-painting, 
although it is not so good as the colour formed of 
ochre and white. M. d'Arclais de Montamy, in his 
Treatise on the Colours for Enamel Painting, describes 
it as a stone of a pale or deep yellow colour, which ap- 
pears to be composed of a species of yellow sand, loosely 
combined. He believes it to be the production of a 
volcano. He adds that Naples yellow may be consi- 
dered as safiron of Mars, first produced by a volcano, 
and that then the colour was brought to perfection by 
remaining in the earth, or as a ferruginous substance, 
the vitrification of which was afterwards decomposed.* 
Cennini's description • of this pigment is as follows : — 
" There is a yellow cofour called giallolino, which is 
artificial and very compact It is as heavy as a stone, 
and difficult to break. This colour is used in fresco, 
and lasts for ever (that is on walls and on tempera 
pictures). It must be ground like the preceding with 
water. It is difficult to grind; and before grinding, 

1 At the end of the Abecedario Pittorioo (Naples, 17SS). 

s De I'Architecture, &c., 1697, p. 292. ^ 

s Histoire G^n^rale des Drogues. 

4 See the French translation of this Treatise in Jombert's edition of the 
El^oiens de Peinture, by De Piles, p. 191. 

& Treatise on Punting and the Composition of Colours, tracslated from 
the French of M. Constant de Massoul. London, 1797. P. 137. 

^ Trattato, cap. zlri. 



as it .is very difficult to pulverize, it should be broken 
in a bronze mortar, in the same way as the lapis ama- 
tito. When employed in painting, it is a very beautiful 
yellow ; and with this colour and other mixtures which 
I will describe to you, you may paint beautiful foliage 
and herbage. And I have been informed that this 
colour is a real stone, produced in volcanoes ; and it is 
for this reason that I said it is formed artificially, but 
not in the chemical laboratory.'* 

From this account it is evident that Cennini is de- 
scribing a native mineral which he considers to be pro- 
duced by volcanic agency — "Pero ti dico sia color 
artificiato, ma non di archimia." The accordance of 
this description with that of the jaune de Naples just 
mentioned is apparent. It is therefore certain that 
there was a native yellow pigment found in the neigh- 
bourhood of volcanoes, the nature of which was not 
well understood, which was known by the name of 
giallolino or giallolino di Napoli and jaune de Naples. 
This is the opinion also of Branchi and Watin.* In 
this case therefore giallolino and giallolino di Napoli 
(Naples yellow) were really synonymous. There is 
also an artificial pigment called Naples yellow or jaune 
de Naples, which, by some authors, has been considered 
to consist of an earth coloured with weld (gaude, Eeseda 
luteola) and by others to be composed of the oxides of 
lead and antimony with other ingredients. The last is 
the general opinion, and there appears to be no doubt 
the modern pigment of this name is composed of these 
oxides.* The vegetable pigment above mentioned is 
the arzica of Cennini, the Le Begue, the Bolognese 
MS., and Borghini, and the ancorca of Palomino.' 

1 Lettera di Branchi, p. 12. 

> See Merimde, de la Peintnre k THuile, p. 110; Marcacci, Saggio 
Analitico de' Colori, p. 06; Lettera di Bnmchi, p. 12; Bachhofftier, 
Chemistry as applied to the Arts, &c. 

3 Indice de los Terminos Primativos de la Pintura — appended to Palo- 
mino's Museo Pictorico. 

VOL. I. I 

clxii INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

I consider it therefore established that there were 
three kinds of giallolino employed by the old Itialian 
Masters, namely: — 

1. A native mineral yellow pigment known by the 
names of giallolino, giallolino di Napoli, jaune de 
Naples, luteolum Napolitanum. 

2. An artificial pigment which was composed of the 
yellow protoxide of lead, and which was called giallolino, 
giallolino fino, giallolino di fornace di Fiandra, giallo- 
lino di fornace, giallolino di Fiandra, luteolum Belgi- 
cum, genuli (the last is a Spanish term) and massicc^ 
of which there were two varieties ; namely, the gcJden 
or yellow and the white or pale massicot 

3. An artificial pigment made at Venice composed 
of giallolino fino and a certain kind of " giallo di vetro," 
or vitreous yellow, for which a recipe is given in the Bo- 
lognese MS. No. 273, in the Venetian dialect, and which 
appears, to have been the hornaza of the Spaniards. 

I consider it also established that there are two 
kinds of Naples yellow, namely : — 

1. A native mineral pigment found in the neigh* 
bourhood of volcanoes, the nature of which is not accu- 
rately known, and which was called giallolino, giallolino 
di Napoli, and jaune de Naples, and which is synony- 
mous with the first kind of giallolino above mentioned. 

2. An artificial pigment now in use composed of the 
oxides of lead and antimony, called also giallo di Napoli, 
jaune de Naples, and Naples yellow, which was not 
known to the old Italian artists. 

From the above statements it will be seen that it is 
scarcely possible to determine which of the three pig- 
ments called "giallolino " is alluded to when the terra 
occurs alone in writers on art It is certain, however, 
that one or other of these pigments was much used by 
the Italian masters. Giallolino was recommended by 
Lionardo da Vinci ^ to be mixed with white lead and 

» Trattalo, cap. 363. 


lake for flesh tints. There is reason to suppose it was 
also used by Raphael, since it is mentioned in an ac- 
count of payments for colours found on the back of a 
drawing by the great painter preserved in the Academy 
at Venice, and supposed to be in his hand- writing. 

It was seldom found among the colours of Venetian 
pictures which have been analysed. It is stated on the 
authority of Boschini^ (who mentions that the pigment 
was not generally approved by the Venetians) to have 
been used by Giacomo Bassano and Paolo Veronese, 
and it is also enumerated among the pigments named 
by Biondo.* 

Massicot is however frequently disapproved as a pig- 
ment, especially when mixed with white.' We have 
the evidence of Cennini that the native pigment called 
giallolino was a durable colour. Pacheco remarks that 
he has employed genuli, which has surpassed in bril- 
liancy and beauty the best orpiment, excelling it in 
durability ; he adds that it is preserved in water like 
white, and is very drying. 

Giallo in Vetro, or Gialh di Vetro. — Borghini states* 
that this pigment, which is used in fresco, is made 
in the glass furnaces, and he recommends that it should 
be purchased ready made. It is probable, as has been 
before observed, that this pigment was of the same 
nature as the vetrio giallo mentioned in the Bolognese 
MS. No. 272 to have been composed of tin and lead 

The ochresj so remarkable for their durability and 
variety, will always be among the most valuable yellow 
pigments. Many varieties are enumerated by writers 
on art, among which may be mentioned arzica, ochre 
de ru, mottfee de sil, &c; The best kinds are sold in 
Italy in the lump, and Volpato recommends * that such 

1 Ricche Minere. > Delia Pittura. 

* See Mr. EastUke's < Materials/ p. 440. « Riposo, p. 166. 

* P. 745. 


clxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap, tl 

should be preferred to those which are sold in powder, 
because the first are in the natural state and no other 
material is mixed with them ; " for/' he continues, 
" the vendors are accustomed to falsify everything/* 

During the middle s^es, an imitation of the Attic 
ochre of Pliny was in use. This pigment^ to which 
the name of " Sillacetus " was given, was a preparation 
of white chalk or gesso, saturated with the colour ex- 
tracted from the wall-flower ^ (Viola lutea). 

Vegetable yellow pigments were of two kinds — ^those 
which were precipitated on a white earth, such as the 
different kinds of yellow lake, and those which were 
used as transparent colours, without any other prepa- 
ration than that of expressing and inspissating the juice 
of certain plants. Of the latter kind were saffrouj the 
zafferano of Cennini, and aloes ; the latter was chiefly 
used for colouring varnishes, or for heightening the 
colour of verdigris in the manner recommended by 
Lionardo da Vinci." 

Giallo santo was a kind of yellow lake, which was 
made from various plants. It was sometimes prepared 
from the berries of the buckthorn ' (spincervino), some- 
times from the flowers of the yellow goat's-beard (barba 
di becco), sometimes from the flowers of the yellow 
broom, sometimes from weld or dyer's weed: the 
latter is the arzica of Cennini and the Bolognese MS. 
The sillacetus of the Table of Synonymes was a yellow 

The French call pigments of this description ^* stU de 
grairij'' and include under them not only those pigments 
which are of a pure yellow colour, but such as incline to 
green. The English term for this class of pigments is 
or was ^^ pink" Thus we have ^^ Dtttch pinkf'* ^^ Ita- 
lian pink^" '^ brown pinkj^* &c. 

Volpato observes ^ that giallo santo . should be of a 

• Table of Synonymes, p. 36. » Trattato, cap. 120. 3 p. 708. * P. 744. 


fine colour, that in grinding it should become very 
liquid, so as to require but very little oil to temper it, 
and that it should dry very quickly, which is a sign 
that it is pure ; but if it hardens and requires a great 
deal of oil in grinding, this is a proof that it contains 
dust and other impurities, and in this case it dries slowly 
and fades on the pictures. 

As another test, he directs * that the colour should be 
exposed to the sun ; if it faded, it was bad. He also 
mentions that it should not be kept in water. Giallo 
santo appears to have been extensively used by the 
Italians, and although it is included among the colours 
which Boschini says the Venetians " detested like the 
plague,** it appears, on his own evidence, that it was em- 
ployed by Giacomo Bassano in shading yellow drapery. 
The pigment is also mentioned by Biondo, by Arme- 
nini, by Borghini, and in the Paduan MS. Malvasia 
says that it was used by Tiarini and Cavedone. 

Saffron, zafferanOj the crocus of the middle ages, is 
produced from the flowers of the crocus. Peter de S. 
Audemar informs us that safiron was produced in 
France in his time ; but he says the French safiron was 
not good; he mentions that this drug was imported 
from Spain and Italy, and that the best kind was 
brought from Sicily, and was called corwcos. The plant is 
cultivated extensively in England in the neighbourhood 
of Safiron-Walden, and the name of the place is derived 
from this circumstance. It was brought into England 
from the Levant in the reign of Edward III-, and the 
manner in which it was introduced is thus described by 
Hakluy t :" — " It is reported at Saffiron-Walden, that a 
pilgrim, purposing to do good to his country, stole a head 
of safiron, and hid the same in his palmer's staff, which 
he had made hollow before on purpose, and so he 
brought this root into this realm with venture of his 

1 P. 744. « See Beckmanns Inventions, vol. i. p. 179, n. 

clxvi INTRODUCTION. [chap, tl 

life ; for if he had been taken, by the law of the country 
from whence it came, he had died for the fact.** 

To these vegetable pigments may be added gamboge^ 
which is a gum resin that flows from the Hebradendron 
Cambogioides. It derives its name from Eamboia, a 
river in Siam, in the vicinity of which the gum is ob- 
tained in abundance. It was certainly in use in the 
Venetian territories at the period when the Paduan 
MS. was written, and is believed to have been employed 
by Paolo Veronese. It was sometimes purified by being 
ground up with lemon juice and roche alum.^ 

Gamboge is prepared for painting in oil by depriving 
it of its gum. Marcucci recommends'^ the following 
method : — " Gamboge of the finest colour is to be 
ground with water ; it is then to be put into a china 
cup, and a suflScient quantity of water is to be poured 
on it to cover it twice its own height ; after being left 
thus two days, the supernatant water is to be decanted, 
and the resin which remains at the bottom of the water 
is to be dried. When quite dry, a quantity of spirit of 
turpentine sufficient to cover it is to be poured over it, 
and the cup is to be placed upon warm ashes until the 
resin is quite dissolved and incorporated with the tur- 
pentine. A little nut oil is then to be added, and it is 
to be preserved for use." Marcucci adds, "this is 
excellent for glazing yellow and green draperies; for 
the latter it must be mixed with ultramarine." Other 
modes of preparation are mentioned by Mr. Eastlake 
in his recent work.' 

It appears from the Brussels MS.^ that gamboge 
was in use in France in 1635. Palomino re- 
marks^ that this pigment, which he calls " Gutiambar,** 
was employed to glaze yellow draperies, and that it 
dried so badly as to require the addition of the com- 
mon drying oil. 

1 p. 660. 3 Saggio, &c., p. 135. > Materials, &c., p. 442. 

^ P, 784. * Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 63. 


A recipe for an artificial pigment somewhat analo- 
gous to the modern pigment called " Gallstone" appears 
in the second book of Eraclius. It consisted of the 
gall of a lai^e fish precipitated on a white earth. It 
was said to have resembled orpiment in colour. 

Ahes. — ^The inspissated juice of the aloe spicata. 
The plant is a native of Africa. The finest kind of 
aloes has a brilliant reddish-brown colour, and is trans- 
lucent at the edges of the fragmented pieces ; its 
fracture is smooth and conchoidal, its odour aromatic 
and rather agreeable, its powder deep gold colour, its 
taste intensely bitter and nauseous. But such is rarely 
found in trade ; it is generally opaque, of a dull brown, 
when it is called Hepatic aloes^ often passing into black, 
when it is denominated CabaUine aloes. It appears to 
be a mixture of gum, extractive, and a little resin. It 
is nearly soluble in boiling water, but as the solution 
cools, some resin and altered extractive are thrown 
down ; the alkalies and their carbonates form with it 
permanent solutions, and proof spirit dissolves and re- 
tains it with only a slight precipitation of resin. Ca- 
baUine aloes are mentioned by Lionardo da Vinci' as 
an improvement to the colour of verdigris, and he 
recommends its solution in warm spirit (aqua vitae). 

Orange-coloured Pigments. 

The ochreous pigment called Arzica in the Table of 
Synonymes, afibrds, when burnt, ah orange-coloured 
pigment, which is likely to prove a valuable addition 
to the palette. 

Orange or red orpiment — realgar. — ^This pigment, as 
well as yellow orpiment, is sometimes found native. It 
is also prepared artificially by melting it in a crucible 
over a charcoal fire, and when cool, grinding it* 

Burnt or orange orpiment is mentioned by Borghini' 

1 Trattato, cap. 120. « Paduan MS., p. 662. « Riposo, p. 166. 

clxviii INTRODUCTION. [chaf. vi. 

and by Loniazzo/ who observes with regard to this 
pigment, which was said to be of the colour of gold, 
"and this is the alchemy of the Venetian painters." 
Matthioli makes a similar remark ; after describing the 
manner of converting the yellow orpiment into red by 
burning it, he says, that every one may provide himself 
with the latter by inquiring for it in the " calle" (lanes 
or narrow streets) of Venice, where colours are sold. 
It is probable that red orpiment was used by some of 
the Venetian artists,* since a colour resembling it is 
frequently seen on pictures of this school, particularly 
on those of Bonifazio. A few ounces of a pigment of 
the colour of orange orpiment was given to me at 
Milan by an artist who told me it was used by Titian, 
and that he had procured it at an old colour-shop in 
Venice. He called the colour rauschel minerale, and 
said that he had shown the pigment to a colourman at 
Bergamo who knew it by that name. From the name, 
therefore, it may be conjectured, that the pigment was 
native red orpiment or realgar, and that the name by 
which it was known to this artist was intended for 
ruschegel or raitschgelb. This pigment was called jalde 
or oropimente qiiemado by the Spaniards,' and sanda- 
raca by the Greeks.* It is considered to be less durable 
than yellow orpiment, and extremely corrosive, for 
Merim^e relates* that where it had been employed on 
flower-pieces, it appears to have corroded the priming. 
The term sandaraca was also applied during the middle 
ages to red leady or minium.^ With the artists of this 
period it must have been a favourite colour ; if we may 
judge from the numerous recipes for preparing it which 

1 Trattato, p. 191. 

s Marcucci is of this opinion : see Saggio, &c., p. 226—228. Accoixling 
to this writer, it was also used bj Fra Bartolomeo : see Saggio, &c., p. 216. 

3 Palomino, vol. ii. p. 66. 

4 Diosc, lib. V. cap. 80, by Matt., p. 1428. 
» De la Peinture k I'Huile, p. 124. 

• See Table of Syuonymes, p. 36. S. Audemar, p. 141, 


occur in old MSS. on art, and from its being mentioned 
so much more frequently than vermilion. It was 
purified by washing it in a horn with wine and water.^ 
When to be used on walls it was to be mixed with gum 
water, when on parchment with egg, but when on wood 
with oil. For illuminating books it was frequently 
mixed with vermilion.* 

It is mentioned by many Italian writers on painting,' 
and has been found on Venetian pictures of the best 
period. Boschini informs* us that it was used by 
Pordenone, by Paolo Veronese,* and by MafFeo Verona. 
Sig. Pietro Palmaroli states' that it was employed by 
Titian. According to Marcucci, it was also used by 
Fra Bartolomeo.^ 

Lomazzo ^states^ that it was sometimes mixed with 
lake. Lebrun recommends^ it in painting flesh, and 
says, " If some minium be mixed with white lead and 
a little fine lake, a most beautiful carnation tint will be 
formed, as I know from experience." Bisagno also 
observes^® that in order to make vermilion dry, a little 
minium may be mixed with it The general opinion 
seems to be that minium should be used alone, and 
according to the observations of the Venetian restorers 
' of pictures always with varnish. 

Palomino alludes^ ^ more than once to its want of 
durability ; he says that, " after a time it throws upon 
the surface a kind of salt which destroys the juice of 
the picture." Perhaps this defect may be corrected by 
purifying the red lead in the manner described by De 
Mayeme," who observes, " If you extract the salt from 

-J Le B^;ue, p. 143, 295. s Ibid., p. 141, 297. 

' s Biondo, c. 20. Lomazzo, Tnittato, pp. 191, 193. Borghini, p. 166. 
Volpeto, p. 745. Paduan MS., p. 655. 

4 Ricche Minere. * Sec also Marcucci, Saggio, &c., p. 228. 

« Note to Marcucci, p. 226. "^ Saggio, &c., p. 217. 

8 Trattato, p. 195. » Brussels MS., p. 820, 822. 

w Trattato della Pittura, p. 206. ii Vol. i. p. 66 ; vol. ii. p. 62. 

w See Mr. Eastlake's * Materials,' &c., p. 452. 



ckx INTRODUCTION. [chap. ti. 

minium by washing it with distilled vinegar the re- 
mainder does not fade and dries very well." When 
minium is thus purified, it appears to resemble the 
pigment formerly known by the name of Saturnine red ; 
which consisted merely of minium washed in large ves- 
sels of distilled water, which was changed every forty-four 
hours, till the surface was quite free from extraneous 
matter, and the colour ceased to blacken at the edge of 
the vessel. The colour was afterwards purified with 
spirits of wine.^ Pacheco mentions' that native red 
lead (azarcon de la tierra) was used in his time in 
tempera painting. 

JRed Pigments. 

A great variety of native red pigments have always 
been used in painting. They all owe their colour to 
iron." Of this kind were the sinopia of Pliny and 
Cennini, the terra rossa d* Inghilterra, terra rossa di 
Spagna, Majolica, ferretta di Spagna, almagrej Pa- 
vonazo, Indiar^ red^ light red, Venetian red^ hcematite, 
lapis amatito, sanguinej terra rubea^ brunus, hroum red, 
mottie de sil^ red ochres. 

The terra rossa d^Inghilterra^ so frequently men- 
tioned by Italian writers, is still sold in Italy, where it 
is imported from England. 

The colour called Venetian red is procured from 
Verona. Besides its use in painting, this earth was 
formerly much employed in making the bricks of 
which many of the old buildings in Venice are con- 
structed. The fine colour of these brides, heightened 
perhaps by their contrast with the green waters of the 

1 Constant de Massoul, p. 205. 

3 Tratado, p. 345. Native miniam occurs amorphous and pulyenilent, 
but when examined by the lens exhibits a crystalline structure. It is sup- 
posed to bean oxide of lead, and to arise from the decomposition of galena, 
in which it commonly occurs. PhUIips, Min., p. 337. 

3 The different kinds of red earth used in painting are fully described 
in the Introduction to my work on Fresco Painting, pp. xiii. — zxxiv. 


narrow canals, can scarcely have escaped the observation 
of travellers. 

Hill, the translator of Theophrastus, mentions that 
what is sold in the shops as Lidian red is a native red 
earth [haematite] found in England. He states (p. 122, 
n. 9), ** I have a specimen of some from the Forest of 
Dean in Gloucestershire, very little inferior to the sort 
brought from Ormuz in the Persian Gulf, which is so 
much esteemed and used by our painters under the 
name of Indian red. It is indeed so like, both in 
colour and quality, that it is used for it, as the people 
employed in taking it up informed me, and sent to 
London to be sold under its name. On comparing it 
with some of the true Persian kind, which I had from 
the East Indies, I find it of a paler colour, but of a much 
finer texture." The real Indian red has also a sparkling 
appearance, which is wanting in the common sort. 

The Sinopia of Pliny and Cennini was, as has been 
before mentioned, a red earth originally brought from 
Sinope, but medieval writers north of the Alps gave 
the name of Sinopia^ or Sinopis de MeUanOj to a kind 
of lake made either of the gum of the ivy ground with 
vinegar and mixed with wheat flour, or of the gum of 
ivy and madder.^ Sinopis is sometimes written for 
cinnabar, as in p. 68, where it is said to be made of 
mercury. The term Vermiculiis is used by Le Begue^ 
to denote the red colour called " coccus,** which was 
undoubtedly the coccus of the ancients. It is synony- 
mous with kermes.^ In the Bolognese MS. it is put for 
vermilion.* Cinnahary or vermilion^ is of two kinds, 
natural and artificial. Both are stated to have been 
used by the Italians and Spaniards in painting, but 
the former was preferred for fresco-painting, although 
the latter was of a much finer colour. If we may 
judge from the recipes in old treatises, the medieval 

1 Le Begue, p. 145. < Table of Synonymes, p. 38. 

3 Matth. 1086. 4 P. 449. 

clxxii INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

artists employed the latter only. Directions for re- 
fining and purifying it are given in the Bolognese MS^ 
the Faduan MS^^ and in the recipes at the end of the 
Abecedario Pittorico. 

Lebrun observes,* that vermilion is frequently adul- 
terated with lime ; to detect this he recommends that 
some should be put on the blade of a knife and heated ; 
if good, it would, when cold, be of the same colour as 
before ; but if one side of the knife remained black, and 
then became brown and dark, this would be a proof of 
its impurity. 

Native cinnabar does not appear to be mentioned by 
writers on art previous to the latter part of the 16th 
century, when it is spoken of together with the artificial 
by Lomazzo* and Borghini.* It is also mentioned and 
described by the Spanish writers Cespides, Pacheco,* and 
Palomino,* and by F^libien."' I was informed by a 
Venetian artist that both native and artificial, or, as he 
called the latter, Dutch cinnabar, had been found among 
the colours of Venetian pictures which he had pro- 
cured to be analysed. It is difficult to imagine how 
native cinnabar can be distinguished by chemical 
analysis from artificial, since mercury combines with 
sulphur in two proportions only, forming the protosul- 
phuret which is black, and the bisulphuret (vermilion 
or cinnabar) which is red.® The difficulty may perhaps 
be explained by a knowledge of the fact that the name 
of " mineral cinnabar" was given by the Italians to the 
hard red haematite. Agricola says, that the stone 

1 See pp. 500, 660, and 664. 
2 Brussels MS., p. 814. « Trattato, p. 191, 192. 

* Riposo, p. 167. ft TraUdo, p. 842. 

^ Museo Pictorico, vol. i. p. 359 ; vol. ii. pp. 53, 149, 340. 

f De la Peinture, p. 299. 
9 The atomic composition is stated to be as follows : 

The protosulphuret— 1 atom mercury 200-f 1 atom sulphur 16ss216. 
The bisulphuret — 1 atom mercury 200+2 atoms sulphur 32=232. 
According to Phillips (Min., p. 358), the composition of native cinnabar 
is quicksilver 84*5 — sulphur 14*75. 


which he calls schist (after Pliny) resembled in appear- 
ance miniunij and that the painters called it cinnabar ; 
that when calcined it imitated the colour of cinnabar. 
This is confirmed by Borghini,^ who states that lapis 
amatita (the haematite) is called by some persons 
"mineral cinnabar." Baldinucci* and Alberti' make 
the same remark ; and Fungelone^ mentions a design 
by Corre^o, in which . may be seen several " pen- 
timenti" drawn with "matita, comunemente detta 
cinabro minerale." It is not, therefore, unreasonable 
to conclude, that the mineral cinnabar said to have 
been found on Venetian pictures may have been the 
colour procured from the hard red haematite burnt ; at 
the same time it must be acknowledged, that if the 
pigment so called had actually been subjected to analysis, 
its composition must have been settled beyond a doubt, 
since no chemist could have mistaken a combination of 
mercury and sulphur for an ore of iron. Vermilion has 
been used by all Italian and Spanish painters. Lomazzo^ 
and Pacheco • direct it to be sometimes employed in 
flesh tints. Its use by Flemish writers in painting has 
been mentioned by Mr. Eastlake.^ Cennini recommends ® 
that cinnabar should be purchased in the mass and 
never bruised or ground, because it was frequently 
adulterated with minium or pounded bricks. 

Lakes. — The red lakes used by the Italian painters 
were either of animal or of vegetable origin, or a 
mixture of both kinds. 

To the first class belonged the lake produced fi:om 
kermes or grana, the most common form of which was 
the lacca di cimatura, lac lake, and cochineal lake. To 
the second class belonged the lake made from Brazil 

1 Riposo, p. 168. « Voc. Dis. 

s Diz. Enc, tit. Cinabro mineralef and Lapis. 

* Life of Correggio, vol. i. p. 174. 

» Trattato, p. 312. • Tratado, p. 386. ' * Materials/ &c., p. 443. 

^ Trattato, cap. xl. 

clxxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

wood or verzino. The third description was composed 
of a mixture of the first and second kinds of lake. 

Kermes or Grand. — The dead bodies of the female 
insect of the coccus ilicis, which lives upon the leaves 
of the prickly oak. It appears to have been known 
from the time of Moses, and has been employed from 
an early period in India to dye silk. It was called by 
the Greeks coccus baphicc^ by the Latins granum in- 
fectoriumy by Pliny coccigranum, by the Arabs charmen, 
kermeSj and chennes^ by the Germans scharlack her^ by 
the Spaniards grana para teHir and grana in granOj by 
the French vermilion^ and by the Italians grana or 
grana da tentori} 

The kermes grains or berries, whence the name 
grana, are mentioned (probably as a dye) in the Lucca 
MS. and the Clavicula* under the name of coccarin, and 
in the latter MS. they are identified with cinnaberin 
and vermiculum : " Vermiculi tereni qui in foliis ceri 
nascitur — coccarin nascitur, sicut supra dictum est, in 
foliis ceri.'* They are constantly to be traced as a dye 
during the middle ages in the South of Europe, and 
are noticed in a commercial agreement between Bologna 
and Ferrara as early as 1 193, and in the Statutes of 
Marseilles for the year 1287. At Montpellier no other 
dye was permitted to be used for the finest red stuflBs.' 
In the fourteenth century Florence * and Venice * were 
celebrated for their red stufis dyed with kermes^ which 
the latter city exported to other parts of Italy. The 

» See Matthioli, p. 1085. « See Mappee Clavicula, p. 41. 

8 Depping, vol. i. pp. 241, 293, 800. * Ibid., vol. i. pp. 284j 285. 

» Filiasi, Saggio, &c., pp. 153, 154 n. Hellot (L*Art de Teintore, 
Paris, 1701, pp. 244, 264) said this red colour was called " Ecarlatte de 
graine,*' formerly ** Ecarlatte de France," and now " Ecarlatte de Veniae," 
because it was much used there, and more was made there than any other 
place. He adds, *' the red draperies of the figures in the old Brussels 
tapestries were dyed with this ingredient, and their colour, which in some 
of these tapestries is 200 years old, has lost nothing of its vivacity.*' In 
his time kermes was only used to dye wool for tapestry. 


red stuffi dyed with kermes or grana found their way 
into the towns of the North of Europe. Pierce Plow- 
man (whose * Vision ' is supposed to have been written in 
1350), in describing the dress of a lady richly clad, 
says that her robe was of ^^ scarlet in grain ;" that is, 
scarlet dyed with grana, the best and most durable red 
dye. The import of the words " in grain " was after- 
wards changed, and the term was applied generally to 
all colours with which cloths were dyed which were con- 
sidered to be permanent ; in this sense it is still used. 

The idea of preparing a pigment directly from the 
kermes grains appears not to have suggested itself to 
the early painters, who employed the rather indirect 
process of boiling the clippings or shearings ^ of cloth 
dyed with kermes in ley, and then precipitating the 
colour with alum« The colouring matter, combined 
with alumina, was well washed to remove the salts, and 
after being dried on a porous stone or brick was pre- 
served in small cakes. The pigment so produced was 
the ^^ lacca di cimatura di grana da rosato,** commonly 
called " lacca di cimatura," which appears to have been 
in common use as a red pigment until the seventeenth 
century.* Neri is probably the first author who gives a 
recipe for a red pigment prepared directly from the 
kermes. The method he recommends was, he said, 
invented by himself at Pisa.'* Other recipes for lake 
from the kermes berries are contained in the Paduan 
MS.* Lake from " quermes " was used in France for 
oil and miniature painting in 1 682.^ 

As a dye the kermes was considered among the most 
durable of all colours. M. Hellot says,* " From the 

1 These consisted of the loose wool, which was remoyed from the face 
of the oloth, in order to produce a smooth surface. 

s See Cenuini, Trattato, cap. 44; Le Begue, p. 91 ; Bol. MS., p. 433, 
&c. ; Secreti di D. Alessio, part i. p. 103 ; Canepario, p. 336. 

3 Arte Vetraria, lib. vii. cap. 119. * P. 70S. 

» See Traits de Miguature de C. Ballard, p. 14. 

• L*Art de Teinture, p. 264. 

clxxvi INTRODUCTION* [chap. vi. 

experiments which have been made with the scarlet dye 
from kermes, as well by exposure to the sun as by 
different re-agents, it has been found that there is 
neither a better nor more durable colour, and yet it is 
used nowhere but at Venice/' This author attributes 
the solidity of the colour of the kermes to its being 
nourished on a shrub possessing astringent properties, 
which have been communicated to the insect ; for he 
remarks " that all barks, roots, woods, fruits, and other 
substances of an astringent nature, furnish durable 
colours for dyeing."* The Italian painters were aware 
of this property possessed by astringent substances of 
rendering colours more durable, and we find accordingly 
that assafoBtida,* a handful of the bark of the white 
beech, or three or four small branches of the Lombardy 
poplar, were boiled with the lake in order to make the 
colour more permanent' The bark of the white beech 
was considered best for rose colours ; the practice was 
not confined to the red from kermes, but extended also 
to madder lake. 

Cremisi^ Cremisino. — Although there appears to be 
no doubt that chermes and grana were really synony- 
mous, yet it also appears that the term cremisino was 
applied in Italy during the time of Matthioli to the 
colour procured from certain berries or grains attached 
to the roots of the pimpinella,* as well as to cochineal. 
Matthioli adds,* " There is now brought from the West 
Indies by way of Spain a new kind o^ cremisino; and 
as great quantities of it are made in Italy, it has lowered 
the price of silks of this colour." This cremisino from 
the West Indies, brought by way of Spain, can be no 
other than cochineal ; it is therefore certain that it was 
well known and abundant in Italy at least as early as 

1 L'Art de Teinture, p. 271. « Bol. MS., pp. 486, 442. 

3 Traits de la Feinture au Pastel. Paris, 1788. 

4 Poterium sanguisorba. The Burnet, probably the Bruneta ortheSlaane 
MS. No. 1754. a Matt., p. 1085. 


1549, the date of Matthioli's work. This may also be 
considered to be proved by the *Tarifl&i Perpetua di 
Zuane Mariani,'^ in which cremese is mentioned as well as 
^ grana " and " polvere di grana/' Both are also spoken 
of in the * Plicto.'* These notices are certainly evidence 
that the terms were not synonymous. Matthioli further 
states that at the time his work was written a lake was 
made for painters from the cremese or cremisino, and 
Canepario " carefiiUy distinguishes grana from harhisini 
or cremesi. Cochineal lake is mentioned in the Paduan 
MS.^ In this treatise it is stated to have been pre- 
pared for painting by boiling it with lemon-juice, garlic- 
juice, and burnt alum ; this treatment would probably 
communicate to it a scarlet tint. The anonymous 
author of the ^ Trattato di Miniatura '^ states that the 
colour called ^^ lacca fina di Yenezia ^ was made from 
cochineal after the carmine had been extracted, and 
that this pigment was made at Paris. 

The cochineal insect is produced on different species 
of cactus. The most perfect variety is that which 
breeds on the cactus coccinillifer. When the Spaniards 
first arrived in Mexico they saw the cochineal em- 
ployed by the native inhabitants in communicating 
colours to some ornaments and in dyeing cloth. Struck 
with its beautifiil colour, they transmitted accounts of 
it to the Spanish ministry, who, about the year 1523, 
ordered Cortes to direct his attention to the propagation 
of this substance. The pigment prepared from cochi- 
neal, though extremely beautiful, is not so durable as 
those from lac and kermes. It is, however, worthy of 
trial whether it may not be rendered more durable by 

1 Published at Venezia, 1667. « Venice, 1657. 

> Pe Atramentis diverei Coloribus, pp. 326, 336. 

* Pp. 661, 699, 708, 709. 

& This work, which was published at Turin in 1768, appears to be a 
translation of Ballard's Traits de Mignature. In this last work, carmine 
is stated to be made of cochineal and rocou (Bixa orellana, an American 

VOL. I. m 

dxXYiii INTRODUCTION. [cbap. ti. 

boiling it with some astringent bark, as recommended 
with regard to kermes lake. 

Lac^ Ldcca. — The term lacca occurs in the Lucca 
MS., and also in the Clavicula ; but it does not appear 
whether it is used to signify gum lac or the juice of the 
ivy, which is described by Eraclius in the chapter en- 
tiUed "De Edera et Lacca.*' These notices appear rather 
to refer to a dye than to a colour for paintmg. In 1220 
the Catalans and Frovengals imported lac into their 
ports for the purpose of dyeing.^ As a pigment lac 
was known in Italy at least as early as 1409, since 
recipes for making lake from it are given in the book 
lent by Era Dionisio to Alcherius. Other recipes are 
contained in the Bolognese and Paduan MSS. and in 
that of Era Eortunato of Bovigo. 

Lac does not appear to have been mentioned in the 
* Tariffa Ferpetua ' of Mariani, but it was used in dyeing 
at Venice in 1557, when the *Plicto' was published; and 
it is among the articles enumerated in the ^Tariffii' of 
Bartolommeo del Paxi de Venezia.* Lac lake was in 
use at Venice in Matthioli's time, and even as late as that 
of Caneparius.' It was also in use at Naples in 1733.* 

Madder, Rvbea Tinetoria, RohUa overo Roza di 
FiandrOj Sandis, Granza, Garancioj WdrantiOf 
" Rubea Major ^ id est Waranz!* — ^A red pigment pre- 
pared from this root is mentioned in the Sloane MS^ 
No. 1754, and in that of S. Audemar,'^ the same recipe 
being introduced into both treatises. In the former 
work it appears also to be alluded to under the term 
gorma : — " Gorma quedam herba est que trahit in pur- 
puram et affertur de quadam regione et hec roaa 
dicitur.** Bosa, as has been already mentioned, is sy- 

1 Capmany, Memorias, &c. ; and Statute de Marseille, dted by Dep* 
ping, vol. i. p. 144. 
s Yenezia, 1503. 

3 De Atramentis, p. 331. This work was published in 1660. 

4 See recipes at the end of the Abecedario, published at Naples. 
B Le Begue, p. 145. 


nonymous with Bobbia.^ It is possible that the menesch of 
Theophilus may have been madder, since mnitsch is the 
Indian name for this plant.' In the third book of 
Eraclius^ madder is enumerated among colours for paint- 
ing ; it is also mentioned in the Table of Synonymes/ 
From the time the latter work was written until that of 
Neri all traces of madder as a pigment seem to be lost. 
This autibior gives* a recipe for madder and verzino 
lake ; he remarks that in making these lakes a latter 
proportion of madder or verzino must be allowed than 
of the eimatura, because the colour aflbrded by the two 
former is not so deep as the latter. He concludes by 
observing, " In this manner you will obtain very fine 
lake for painters at less expense than that made from 
^ chermisi ;' the madder lake especially is very beau- 
tiful and pleasing to the eye." From these expressions 
it may almost be inferred that Neri was recommending 
what he considered to be a new pigment ; had it been 
known to painters, it would have been unnecessary to 
advert to the beauty of the colour. With the exception 
of Neri the pigment does not appear to be mentioned 
by Italian writers until 1733, when madder lake is no- 
ticed among other lakes in the recipes for colours at the 
end of the * Abecedario Pittorico.* The French writers 
are equally silent on this subject until 1788, when the 
anonymous author of the ^ Traits de la Feinture au 
Pastel * observes, " Madder is, of all the plants known 
in our climates, that which yields the most durable red, 
and the addition of the juice of the poplar makes it still 
more permanent. The juice of the bark of the white 
beech is still better for rose colours." Constant de 
Massoul ' also mentions madder lake, which he says is 
less likely to change than any other. 

1 S^ the ' PHcto.' ^ Nemaich, Polyglotten Lexicon. 

» P. 249,261. <P. 34. 

A Arte Vetraria, Firenze, 1612, lib. vii. cap. 118. 
• Art of Painting, p. 208. 


clxxx INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

Madder is enumerated among the pigments which it 
is stated were used by the great Venetian painters. 

Madder has been used in dyeing from time imme- 
morial, and by the Orientals as well as the inhabitante of 
Europe. It was cultivated and used extensively for 
dyeing in the neighbourhood of Avignon and Marseilles, 
and it is mentioned in the statutes of the latter city as 
early as 1287.^ It grew wild all over Italy, and that 
produced in the neighbourhood of Home was at one 
time much esteemed. In the middle of the sixteentli 
century Dutch or Flemish madder was preferred to 
the Italian,' since the former only was imported into 

Verzino Lake^ or Lake from Brazil Wood. — ^The 
identity of these pigments is fully proved from various 
passages in these MSS.,' and the numerous recipes which 
have been transmitted to us by writers on the arts show 
the extent to which verzino lake was formerly used. 
The dyewood from which the pigment was prepared 
was known to the Hebrews, as appears from the dic- 
tionary of the Babbi David Kimchi, entitled * Book 
of Boots,' and was called by the Arabs " albakim " or 

Verzino ColomMno. — Marco Polo states that the 
best verzino grew in the island of Ceylon, whence 
Depping supposes that the term " Verzino Colombiuo ** 
was derived from Colombo, the capital of that island; 
The colour to which Pierre Pomet ' and Marcucci • give 
this name was composed not of verzino, but of the 
clippings of scarlet cloth ; the former author remarks 
that the preparation of this lake is attended with much 

1 Depping, Histoire, &c., vol. i. p. 293. « See * Plicto.' 

3 See Le Begue, p. 53. Bol. MS., p. 441. See also Mr. Eastlake's 
< Materials/ &c., p. 114, and Caneparius, p. 297. 

4 Diet. Universe!, Fran9ai8 et Latin, vulgairemeni appel^Dictionnairede 
Trevoux, Art. Br68il. Paris, 1732. 

^ Histoire G^n<§rale des Drogues, vol. i. p. 34. 

6 Saggio, &c., p. 126 ; and see also TratUto di Miniatora, p. 29. 


difficulty, and that it is seldom conducted successfully out 
of Venice, because the Venetians add to the alumina a 
very white earth, which causes the lake to become very 
light (in weight). A pigment of this description is still 
sold at Venice in masses of a pink colour and powdery 
texture, which breaks easily and is remarkably light in 
weight. It is said this pigment should be well burnt. 
A recipe for *^ Laque Colombine,"' composed of Brazil 
or other dyewood, will be found in Ballard's * Traits de 
Mignature.' Verzino or Brazil wood is not the only 
wood mentioned in these MSS. which furnished red 
colouring matter. Bed sandal-wood,^ Campeachy or 
l(^wood, are also mentioned ; and it appears from 
Ballard's ^ Traits de Mignature ' that when that work 
was published the Brazil wood of America called by the 
French " le Bresillet de Femambouc'* {ccescdpinia 
Brasiliensis) was used in making lake instead of the 
Oriental Brazil wood, or verzino {coesalpinia Sappan). 

Venetian Lake. — It is difficult to say what this pig- 
ment really was. The anonymous author of the * Trat- 
tato di Miniatura' before mentioned states that the 
" lacca fina di Venezia " was composed of cochineal after 
the carmine had been extracted. Pierre Pomet^ says 
that it was made of cochineal, Br6sil of Femambouo, 
burnt alum, arsenic, and Egyptian natron, or white 
soda. According to Palomino^ Venetian lake was 
composed of gum lac and grana, or cochineal. 

Florentine Lake. — The old pigment was probably 
the same as lacca di cimatura, since this was the prin*- 
cipal kind of lake described by Neri,^ whose work was 
published at Florence, although he appears to have re- 
sided at Pisa. The modem pigment of this name is 
made of cochineal and other ingredients.*^ 

1 P. 517. > Histoire Gdndrale des Drogues, yoI. i. p. 33. 

3 Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 340. * Arte Vetraria, lib. vii. c. 116. 

ft Dizionario delle Drogbe, di Chevalier e Bicbard, Tradizione da F. du 
Prd, Venezia, 1830. 

clxxxii INTRODUCTION. [chap, tl 

Lake from Ivy. — The medieval painters were acoiift- 
tomed to prepare a red colour from the juice or gum 
which in warm countries flowed from the ivy in the 
month of March* This colour differed from die lakes 
before described, inasmuch as the juice or gum was in- 
spissated by boiling, and not precipitated upon a white 

The Purple of the Ancients is mentioned in the 
Table of Synonymes*^ It is also mentioned in the 
passages borrowed from Yitruvius in the third bo(^ of 

It has been observed that the characteristic of the 
Venetian school was the free and unsparing use of a 
powerful blue, I would add of a very beautiM and cool 
lake colour also, which in all pictures of the Venetian 
school, fipom the Vivarini to Tintoretto, invariably re- 
tains its colour. The Venetian lakes always incline to 
blue — an effect which was probably produced by ike 
mixture of blue with the lake. Tassi, in his ^ Lives of 
the Bergamasque Painters,' speaking of the ^beautifiil 
blues and lakes found on the ; cinque-cento pictures, 
says: "Where will you find such colours now?'*' 
These considerations make it most important to ascer- 
tain, if possible, what kind of lakes were used. 

The lakes of Florence and Venice were particularly 
celebrated. We have seen that in both cities the laeca 
di cimatura was most common. Cennini^ gives the 
preference to the pigment prepared from gum lac, and 
it is generally believed that the latter was the lake most 
frequently employed by the old masters, especially by 
those of the Venetian school :* the colour of the lake in 
pictures of this school favours this supposition. 

Pacheco, on the contrary, prefers the Florentine to 

1 P. 26, 33. 2 p. 251. 

3 He published in 1793. « Trattato, cap. 44. 

^ Note by Tambrbni to Cennini, Trattato, cap. 44. 


the lac lake, as more durable, but he says lake of 
Honduras is not bad. By the last term he probably 
meant the lake from cochineal or American Brazil 
wood. Matthioli states^ that in his time four kinds of 
lake were made; namely, Ist, that from cremesi or 
cremisinOj which was undoubtedly cochineal ; 2nd, that 
made from grana or kermes ; 3rd, that from gum lac; 
and 4th, that from verzino, which was the worst and 
least valued of all the others. Lomazzo mentions more 
than once, in enumerating the colours used, ^^ le lacche 
tutte," which is a proof that several kinds of lake were 
used in his time ; and in another place he speaks of 
'^ grano," whence we may infer that the kermes lake 
was among the number. 

Florentine lake must have had considerable reputa- 
tion in Venice, since Leandro Bassano contracted to 
employ it in his picture of the ^ Combat of^ the Angels,' 
painted for the church of S. Giorgio Maggiore at Venice 
in 1597.^ 

A Venetian artist told me that the Venetians used 
kermes (grana) and madder lakes, and that verzino 
lake was employed by Tintoret only. Another artist^ 
on the contrary, said that the Venetian painters used 
chiefly verzino lake. A painter and restorer of pictures 
at Verona believed they used cochineal lake, and, as 
we have seen, he may be right as far as regards the 
painters who lived after the middle of the sixteenth 

From the preceding authorities it will be seen that 
previous to the middle of the sixteenth century the 
best lake pigments employed by the Italian painters 
must have been either the lacca di cimatura or lac 
lake, or a mixture of one of these with verzino, and 
that after this period cochineal lake might have been in 
use. At present there is no evidence which of the two 

1 Malt. 76. * Iscriz. Venet, vol. iy. p. 349, 

clxxxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap. te. 

former was generally preferred: judging from the 
greater number of the recipes for lacca di cimatura, we 
should perhaps decide that this was the pigment gene- 
rally adopted ; but if an opinion may be formed from 
the colour of the lake on Italian, and especially on 
Venetian pictures, we should say that the lac lake was 

Chemical analysis does not diminish the difficulty ; 
the lake-coloured pigments of a miniature of the end of 
the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century have 
been analysed by Dr. Antonio Fabroni of Arezsso, who, 
after stating^ that the tint where it was mixed witli 
white was of a bright blood colour, draws the following 
conclusions from his experiments: "The behaviour of 
this pigment with re-agents proves that this colour is a 
combination of a terrene base, and probably of very fine 
white chalk with a red juice, or perhaps with several 
juices, either of a vegetable or animal nature. It is, in 
fact, a composition analogous to our modem lakes, or 
rather to the * slils de grain * of the French. . . . From 
chemical experiments I should be inclined to believe 
that the dark red colour of the miniature was produced 
from verzino, ifj besides the chronological difficulty,* the 
depth and inalterability of the colour, which are incom- 
patible with the nature of Brazil wood, did not oblige 
me to abandon this conjecture. 

" Carthamus, gum-lac, and madder appear to me 
excluded by experiment, and by the appearance of the 
colour to the eye. I think then, that this lake colour 
can only be attributed to the kermes (the coccus of the 
ancients) modified by some indigenous vegetable juice.** 

Perhaps it may be safe to conjecture that where 
lake-coloured draperies are of the colour of blood they 

1 Ricerche Chimiche sopra le Miniature di un Manuscritto. 

« Sig. Fabroni probably considered that Brazil gave its name to the wood, 
whereas it is supposed that the name of the wood was transferred to the 


have been painted with kermes, and where they incline 
to the rose-colour, or pink, that lac-lake has been used 
for them, if painted previous to the middle of the 
sixteenth century ; but if after that period, that either 
lac, cochineal, or madder may have been employed. 

The price of lake does not often appear in old docu- 
ments, although it is frequently stipulated in contracts 
that it should be provided by the person who ordered 
the picture. It is however stated^ that the lake supplied 
for the altar-piece, painted in 1521, by Fra Marco 
Pensaben, at Treviso, was 6 lire the ounce, exactly 
double the price of the azzurro. 

When Guercino was painting the picture called 
" L'Amore Virtuoso,*' 25 oz. of lake, besides 21 oz. of 
lapis-lazuli to make ultramarine, were given to him.' 

Yolpato remarks' that lakes should not only be of 
beautiftil colour, but in grinding they should have body, 
and not become liquid; and De Mayeme observes,^ 
^^ Lake for glazing should be mixed with but a small 
quantity of oil, and should be ground as thick as butter, 
so that it may be cut, otherwise it will have no body, 
and be good for nothing." Lake that is left on the 
palette cannot be preserved, like other colours, by 
placing it in water, for that would spoil it.^ Lakes 
being slow dryers, the addition of boiled oil or pulver- 
ized glass is necessary to promote their desiccation.* 
Palomino^ observes that the colour which in Spain is 
called ^ Laca de Francia,' and in France ' Carmin,' 
although very beautiftd for illuminations and minia- 
tures, is not durable in oil ; for besides losing its beau- 
tiful colour, and becoming dark, it dries so badly, 

1 Memorie Trevigiane. 

* See the Account Book of Guerdno, published in the new edition of the 
Felfina Pittrice. ' P. 745. 

* MS., quoted by Mr. Eastlake, * Materials/ &c., p. 451 n. 
» Volpato, p. 741. 

< Bald., Yoc. Dis., Tit. OUo eatto. Paduan MS., p. 666. Pacheco, 
p. 390. '^ Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 53. 

clxxxvi INTRODUCTION. [chap, vi. 

that after being to all appearance dry, if the pictuni 
washed even six years after it has been painted, the lake 
will wash off." It was remarked to me at Venice that 
verzino lake was always applied as a glazing colour, and 
with varnish. 

In painting lake or rose-coloured draperies^ the 
Venetians generally painted the lights with pure white, 
and glazed with lake until the colour was sufficiently 
dark. With lac-lake this was a wise precaution ; fw 
Mr. Field remarks,^ that white-lead destroys this colour. 
We find that it was sometimes the practice to mix the 
bone of the cuttle-fish, or white chalk, with lake, in 
order to give it body. The peculiar kind of lake now 
made at Venice is an example of this.' 

2>ra^(?n^'-blood, a resin of a dark red colour, which 
drops in tears from the tree called Pterocarpus draco. 
It has been used from a very early period in miniature 
painting, but is not considered a durable colour. Its 
tint was varied by adding to it an alkali, or soap, when 
it was called " carmine,*' or " ponso.** When a large 
quantity of soap was added, it was called ^' cremesino." 

Pavonazzo, Purple, and Mulberry colours. 

MoreUo diferro. — Probably some ore of iron, burnt 
until it assumes a morello or murrey colour ; or it 
might have been the hard red haematite, ground without 
being calcined. It was used for painting in oil/ 

Vitriuoh Romano abbrudato. — Burnt Roman ViirioL 
— An artificial pigment, prepared by calcining sulphate 
of iron, by which process it acquires a red colour. 

Morello di Sale. — The nature of this pigment has 
not been well ascertained. It is distinguished by 
Lomazzo^ from morello di ferro, and from burnt Roman 

1 Chromatography, p. 186. 

s And see Fdlibien, de la Peintorc, &c., p. 299. 

3 Lomazzo, Trattato, p. 192. 

4 Ibid., p. 19), *' 11 morello di ferro, e quello di sale, fanno il morello, 
e oltre di cid il vetriuolo cotto/' &c. 


vitriol. The same author also places it among the 
colours used in fresco painting. Borghini calls^ it 
Pagonazzo di sale, and says it was used for painting in 
fresco and in tempera. Haydocke, the translator of 
LfOmazao, took much pains to ascertain the nature of 
t^is pigment He says,* ^^ But as for morello di sale, it 
must needes be the rust of salte, called flos salis, whereof 
Mathiolus, 1. 5, c. 88, uppon Dioscorides writing saith, 
that it is of a saffiron colour, in these words : ^ There is 
a reddish colour, like unto rust, digged out of the Ger- 
man salt-mines, much desired of the painters, which, 
peradventure, is ipse flos salis, the flower itselfe of 
salt ; for it is like it in colour and tast ; and is com- 
monly called morello di sale.' Wherefore I rather 
think that it is the rust of iron, and the rust of salte, 
making naturally a bay colour ; for which cause I have 
still translated them the rust of iron and salte ; though 
in some places they agree not in colour as they are 
named in the mixture. So that I imagine there is 
some errour crept into the booke, which by mine owne 
paines I cannot yet finde, nor by my conference with 
many good painters and chemists.'' 

I have been unable to find the passage quoted by 
Haydocke in Matthioli's translation of Dioscorides, lib. 
5, cap. 88, or cap. 87, in which he treats of the various 
kinds of salts. Matthioli says, in speaking of ^^ fiore di 
sale," that ^^ it is of a red colour, like rust of salt — ^that 
it is very deliquescent, and that by suffering it to repose, 
the sediment subsides, and the upper portion remains 
liquid." This description agrees somewhat with the 
information I received at Venice, namely, that morello 
di sale is die sediment which subsides from rock-salt 
when it is purified. 

Phillips' describes rock-salt as of various colours, 

1 Riposo, p. 174. 

s TraDslation of Lomazzo's Treatise on Painting, p. 100. 

3 Mineralogv, p. 193. 

clxxxviii INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

namely, white, grey, reddish-brown, brick-red, violet, 
and green; when coloured it is always more or less 
impure. He says that red or greyish clay frequently 
alternates in beds with rock-salt 

It seems probable that morello di sale was the same 
as the morellen salz of the Germans. From an ana- 
lysis, made by a friend, the latter pigment is found to 
consist of peroxide of iron, with a small quantity of 
silica and alumina. I am informed that there is notliing 
in these ingredients which militates against the opinion 
of the Venetians that morello di sale is the sedim^it 
formed in the purification of rock-salt. This purifica- 
tion generally takes place in iron vessels, some portions 
of which may be dissolved and precipitated together 
with the clay which usually accompanies the salt. 

Vasari, it seems, did not approve of this colour in 
fresco-painting. Speaking of the frescoes of Buffiil- 
macco, he says,^ " It was the custom of Buffalmacco, in 
order to paint the flesh with greater facUity, to spread a 
coat of morello di sale over the whole, -which in time 
caused a salt to form, which consumed the white and 
other colours; whence it is not surprising that these 
works are spoiled and destroyed, while others which he 
painted long before are in good preservation. And I, 
who thought that these pictures had been injured by the 
damp, have since proved by experience, and by com- 
paring them with other works of this artist, that the 
injury did not arise from damp, but it was entirely owing 
to this habit of Buffalmacco that some of them are so 
ruined, that not even the design is visible ; and where 
the flesh tints were formerly, nothing now remains but 
the pavonazzo. This method of painting should not be 
adopted by any one who wishes his pictures to last.** 

Folium^ Tumsol. — Theophilus* and S. Audemar* 
describe three kinds of folium, namely, red, purple, 

1 Vita di Buffalmacco. s Thcoph. lib. i. cap. zxzv. > P. 132. 


and blue, which were prepared from a plant used in 
England to dye wool. According to these authors, the 
purple folium was procured artificially by the addition 
of other ingredients to the red folium. 

S. Audemar gives the English name for the plant 
from which folium was produced ; but the word appears 
to have been so disguised by the French transcriber, 
Le Begue, that it is quite unintelligible. 

Fortunately, however, Mr. Hendrie has ascertained^ 
that the name of the plant from which folium was pro- 
duced, has been preserved in two MSS., one of which 
is of the fourteenth century, and the other of the 
fifteenth. In the first of these' the plant which is 
called ^^ morella " is described as growing in the country 
of St. Giles, and as producing seeds consisting of 
three grains or berries, with the juice of which were 
dyed pieces of cloth, which yield a mulberry colour 
called folium. 

The second description of folium, which differs but 
little from the first, is from a MS. belonging to the 
Biblioth^que Boyale at Montpellier. The directions 
for the preparation of the colours resemble those in 
Theophilus and S. Audemar. 

From these MSS. it appears that the colour called 
folium was produced from a plant called ^^ morella," 
the seeds of which were formed in groups of three 
berries in a cluster, and that the plant grew ^^ in terra 
Sancti Egidii."' The Venetian MS. in the Sloane 
Collection (No. 416) describes a plant,' from the pulpy 

1 Theoph., p. 59. * Sloane MS., No. 1764. 

* A fare pe9oUa azum la quale e molto fina. R. una erba la quale se 
chiama torna sole che e grande uno bra^o e la foia sua e fatta chomo lortiga 
e da il colore a modo de tera vHie de quela che vende i spi^iali e le semen9e 
8oe sono &te al modo che e el mira— soHe el so cholore de le dite semen9e 
e verde schuro e la gamba sie biancba^a^ e se voi a chognossiere la dita eba 
tola i manoe tochate el chollo fContinente te bruxa e pi9ara e queste semen^e 
sono quele de le qule se fa el color arecholgi queste semen^e la maitina P 
tempo inati che lo sole se lieva e volsse arecholgiere a la ussita de Zug*", &c. 


seeds of which blue and purple colours were ob- 
tained ; but this plant is called ^^ tomasole," and not 
" morella. " The description^ is accompanied by a 
drawing of a plant which bears three berries^ and it is 
followed by an account of the process of preparing the 
colour, which corresponds with those given by Theo- 
philus, S. Audemar, and the Montpellier MS. 

Now there are two plants mentioned by medieval 
writers under the name of " morella,** one of which is 
the solanum nigrum, the solatro nero, or ortense, the 
morella, or herba morella of the Italians, the morelle 
des jardins, morelle au fruit noir of the French, the 
black nightshade of the English.' Red, green, and 
blue dyes were prepared from the seeds of this plant, as 
we find from the MS. of Le Begue, Nos. 94, 338 ; the 
Bolognese MS., No. 9 1 ; and Paduan MS., Nos. 35 
and 100 ; but on referring to the figure of this plant in 
Matthioli, we see that the berries grew in bunches of 
four, and not in three, and that in other respects 
it differed from the description of the plant in the 
Venetian MS. 

The other plant called " morella ** is the croton 
tinctorium, or crozophora tinctoria, the heliotropium 
minus tricoccum, which is called in French toumesole, 
but at Montpellier "maurelle."* The term tricoccum 
will not escape observation as agreeing with the old 
descriptions, and the name ^^ tomasole *' given to the 
acrid plant described in the Venetian MS. sufficiently 
identifies it with the croton tinctorium, the corrosive 
properties of which are well known. 

And now with regard to the place where it grows. 
The heliotropium tricoccum grows in marshy places, 
and is a native of the Levant and south of Europe, 
Provence and Languedoc, especially of Gakrques, 

^ For this recipe from the Venetian MS. I am indebted to Mr. Eastlake^ 
2 Nemnich, Polyglotten Lexicon, s Ibid. 


^here a colour is still prepared by steeping rags in the 
juice of this plant,^ and the neighbourhood of Nismes 
and MontpelUer. The Montpellier and Sloane MSS^ it 
will be recollected, state that it grew in " terra Sancti 
Egidii," and Egidius is the Latin name for Gilles, or 
Giles : now about thirteen miles due south of Nismes is 
Sl GUles, a town of great antiquity, the Bhoda Rhodi- 
orum of Pliny, chiefly remarkable at present for its 
magnificent abbey (which dates from the twelfth cen- 
tury), and other medieval remains. This then is the 
"terra Sancti Egidii" of the MSS., and the plant 
morella is the " maurelle " of Montpellier, the modern 
turnsol. Montpellier and its neighbourhood have always 
been celebrated for the dyes prepared there, and this 
city was at one time the centre of the commerce of 
Languedoc.' At the present time it carries on exten- 
sive dye and chemical works, and manufactories of 
colours, some of which are nearly peculiar to itself and 

Having now determined the name and species of the 
plant from which folium was procured, and the country 
where it grew, it remains to account for the appellation 
folium, which, at first sight, appears inapplicable to the 
juice of a berry. I consider that this is explained by 
the Montpellier and the Venetian MSS. The directions 
in the former for preparing the colour are rather inde- 
finite, but the Venetian MS. is more explicit. It 
directs' that pieces of cloth or rag are to be dyed with 
the juice pressed from the pulp surrounding the seeds ; 
and then dried in the shade, and preserved by laying 
them between the leaves of a book, like leaves of gold, 

1 Marcuoci, Saggio, &c., p. 132. 

* Depping, Histoira da Commerce, &c., vol. i. p. 802. 

s — *' e quando serano seche le dite pe9e mitele 7 uno Hbro de charta 
Sobazina e tine lo libro soto lo chavezale a<^ che no pia umiditad e quando 
ne voi adoverar taiane uno puocho e mitelo amoio la sira T uno chapara^o 
con uno puocho de aq^ la maitina sera fato e lo cholore foro de la pc<;;a.*' 

cxcu INTRODUCTION. [chap. ti. 

and when required for use, the colour was disdiarged 
from the rag by steeping it in water. I imagine the 
dye derived its name of " folium** from this practice 
of preserving the pieces of cloth in books. 

Some little difficulty has been thrown on this subject, 
fix>m the statement of Theophilus and S. Audemar, 
that red, blue, and purple colours were obtained from 
the same plant. In the Sloane MS. the colour is said 
to be mulberry. Pierre Pomet says that turnsole en 
drapeau consists of nothing but rags dyed red with the 
juice of the heliotropium tricoccum, or tornesol, the fruit 
of which makes a very fine bluCj but that the least acid 
turns it red. In the Table of Synonymes it is mentioned 
among the red colours. Nemnich,^ De GandoUe,' 
L^m6ri,^ the author of the Paduan MS., and the 
translators of ^ Beckmann's Inventions,' speak of it as 
producing a blue dye. Clusius,^ De T Abel,^ and Merret,* 
who follows Libavius, say it dyes cloth a bright green^ 
which changes to blue and purple. Gerarde'^ mentions 
a purple colour only. Constant de Massoul ^ says, a 
paste is prepared from the fruit of the heliotropium 
tricoccum, that grows in gardens in France. This 
paste being steeped in water, takes a beautiftil blue 
tint It will sometimes appear of a red colour, but by 
adding a little lime-water it will return to its blue colour. 

All these authors speak of the colour being preserved 
by dyeing rags in it. It may be considered then that 
the colour, when fresh, was green, that it became blue 
on drying, and afterwards purple and red, according to 
the ingredients used in the preparation. 

The rags thus tinged with the juice of the Croton 

1 Polyglotten Lexicon. * Flore Fran^aise. 

8 HUtoire des Drogues. < Rarionim Plant. Hist, 1601. 

ft Flantanim seu Stirpium Hist, 1576, and Advenaria, 1576. 

ft Notes to Neri, cap. 110. 

"7 The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes, 1597. 

ft Treatise on the Art of Punting, London, 1797, p. 186. 


Tinctorium or Turnsol were called in Italian Pezzette, 
literally, small pieces, or as we should say, rags ; for 
soft, fine, and worn-out linen cloth was used lor this 
purpose. In Italy the pezzette were of various colours. 
Cennini speaks * of " pezzette di Levante." Don Alessio 
states, that they were made from " cimatura di grana," 
or verzino ; Pomet and L6mferi say that the " tourne- 
sole en drapeau '' of Constantinople was fine linen or 
crape, dyed with an acid preparation of cochineal. 
" Pezzette morelle " were made from the juice of the 
wild elder ; " pezzette pavonaze " from the juice of the 
myrtle. " Pezzette " of diflcrent colours are described 
in the Bolognese MS.* 

I have little doubt that the bezette of the Germans 
was the pezzette of the Italians, and the bisetus of the 
middle ages. 

The folium of Theophilus and S. Audemar must 
not be confounded with the folium described by St. 
Isidore, in the passage quoted by M. de FEscalopier in 
his * Theophilus,' p. 293^ — "Folium dictum, quod sine 
ulla radice innatans in Indise litoribus colligitur. Quod 
lino perforatum, siccant Indi, atque reponunt. Fertur 
autem Paradisi esse herba, gustu nardum referens.** 

The Catholicon gives a nearly similar description of 
folium, and adds, that the precious ointment called 
" foliatum " was made from it. The passage evidently 
relates to the Malabathrum of Dioscorides, which Mat- 
thioli * says was called ** Folio Indiano," and which was 
valued for its perfume, and not for its colour. 

Indigo appears also to have been called "folium In- 
dicum,'' as may be understood from the following passage 
firom Du Cange, also quoted by M. de I'Escalopier :* — 
" Peto, ut nobis mittas ad decorandos parietes colores 
diversos, qui ad manum habentur, videlicet auripigmen- 
tum, folium Indicum, minium, lazur.*' 

> Cap. X. s Pp. 443, 427, 439, 443. < Matt., p. 47. 

< Thdophile, p. 293, n. 
VOL. I. n 

cxciv INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

BisetuSj or Biseth FoUL — There is some difficulty iu 
reconciling the few notices I have been able to collect 
respecting this pigment. It is mentioned in EracliuSi^ 
who says " Folium incide de bruno ; matiza di biseto 
foiar Again, " niisces brunum cum albo, fietque pulcra 
rosa; incide de bruno, matiza di albo vel de Inseto 
foiar " Viride incide de nigro, et matizabis de lisetor 
^' Indicum incide de nigro ; matiza de azurio, vel de 
vei^aut, aut biseth^ " Misce auripigmentum cum azurio 
vel indico, aut ocrum cum indico, vel viride, et erit 
bonum vergaut ; inde de bruno, aut di nigro, undabis ; 
auripigmentum aut de biseth matizabis/' 

The only information to be collected from these pas- 
sages is, that it was a colour which served for heighten- 
ing the others, consequently that it was lighter than 
they were. In the first case, it was used for the lights 
of a red, purple, or blue drapery ; in the second, of a 
red drapery ; in the third and fiflh, of a green drapery ; 
and in the fourth, of a blue drapery. 

These passages, therefore, are no guide to the colour; 
and as Eraclius gives directions for painting changeable 
draperies in this chapter, it is by no means necessary that 
the lights should be of the same colour as the shades. 

The next notice of bisetus is in the Table of Sy- 
nonymes,' where it is described as being less red than 
folium, and is said to be taken from that portion which 
swims on the surface. Le Begue adds, ^^ I believe that 
this term is applicable in the same sense to the lighter tint 
of any colour, when tempered in shells (such lighter tint 
rising to the surface), after the colour has settled a little."' 

Merret, in his notes to Neri's ' Arte Vetraria ' (cap. 
ex.), mentions bezetta as a synonyme of turnsol, ^^ bezetta 
seu tornasolis ;" this, it will be observed, agrees with the 
description in the Table of Synony mes. In speaking of this 

1 p. 253. « p. 21. 

s I have adopted Mr. Eastlake's translation. See * Materials,* &o., p. 425. 


colour, Merret quotes a passage from the * Wormianum/ 
in which Worniius relates that a piece of cloth tinged 
with a bright and beautiftil red colour was given to him 
by Christopher Herfert- (apothecary to Christian V.), 
who did not know how it was produced ; that it ap- 
peared to have been coloured with red sandal wood, and 
was used to give a red colour to food in the same way 
as the common turnsol ; but that it was far superior to 
it ; that it was fit for rouge, and had this peculiarity, 
that it communicated its colour to water, and with some 
difficulty to wine, but not to spirit of wine. From this 
it would appear that Merret considered this piece of 
red cloth might be included under the general term 
bezzetta, and that the term was not applicable solely to 
cloth dyed with turnsole. 

My opinion is strengthened by a remark of Nemnich, 
who says^^ that cloths dyed with the juice of the turnsol 
were called in the Levant and at Venice " pezzette," 
and not "bezzette," as it is usually written. An eminent 
German chemist informed me that in the laboratory in 
Berlin, where he studied chemistry, there were several 
old boxes marked with the word "bezzette," which 
contained coloured rags. It is probable, therefore, 
that bisetus or biseth is a Latin term for bezzette, 
which is a corruption of the Italian pezzette ; and that 
these pezzette might be of diflFerent colours; hence 
the opinion expressed by Le Begue in the Table of 
Synonymes was probably correct. Whether it is 
practicable to obtain two tints from folium, that is to 
say, one from the juice itself and another from the scum 
which arises on it, and whether this lighter tint was of 
a pale red only, or sometimes purple or blue, can only 
be determined by experiment. 

With regard to the use of bisetus on the lights in the 
manner mentioned by Eraclius, it must be observed, 

^ Polyglotten Lexicon, tit. Croton Tinctorium. 




[chap. VI. 

that the colour with which the rags were saturated 
being transparent^ might be made to appear as light as 
it was necessary, by being much diluted, and that the 
strength of the colour would depend on the quantity 
of water with which it was mixed, and the repetition 
of the colour. 

Palomino mentions a colour which he calls ^^ur- 
chilla ;" * he states that it is of a morello colour, and 
known only to a few persons ; that it is excellent for 
illuminating and for shading sketches (or subjects in 
chiaroscuro) ; he adds, that although he "could describe 
the mode of preparation from the juice of morello- 
coloured lilies and alum, it was not his intention so to 
do, but merely to mention a beautiful transformation 
which it undergoes, for by throwing into it lemon-juice 
instead of water, it changes its colour to that of carmine 
or dragon's blood ; so that, from being one colour only, 
it becomes two, and both may be used for illuminating, 
for miniatures, and for sketches." It is unnecessary to 
observe that if this colour were really made of the juice 
of blue lilies, it could not have been the oricello of the 
Italians. Pacheco says* that in illuminating, blues were 
shaded with this colour. 

J3lue Pigments. 

AzzuRRO. — By this term the early Italian painters 
appear to have understood Az^urro della Magna. 

Azzurro della Magna, Azzurro TodescOy Azzurro 
Spagnuolo^ Azzurro de Anglia^ Azzurro de Lorn* 
bardia^ Lazursteiiiy Citramarinum. — I have stated 
my opinion (supported by what appeared to me 
satisfactory evidence) in a former work,* that this 
German azure was a native blue ore of copper. I 

1 Vol. ii, p. 343. « Tratado, p. 864. 

3 Cennini states (cap. Ix.) that Azzurro della Magna was found near 
Siena. It is also stated to be produced at Striscia, in the district of Vol- 
^rra. See Ricett. Fiorent. « Art of Fresco Painting, p. zzxir. — Ii. 


have since ascertained that the fact has been settled 
beyond a doubt by Professor Branchi of Pisa/ This 
gentleman analysed a portion of the blue pigment from 
one of the pictures formerly in the chapel of S. Jacopo 
di Pistoia. For this purpose he poured a sufficient 
quantity of concentrated sulphuric acid on the blue 
pigment, which he afterwards evaporated to dryness ; 
the residue then being dissolved in distilled water, gave 
a blue colour with ammonia, and a bluish-green precipi- 
tate with carbonate of potash. An iron knife-blade being 
immersed in the liquor, metallic copper was deposited 
on it. The Professor also obtained the same results 
from the analyses of the blue pigments of other ancient 
pictures, especially that from the ground of the very 
ancient Madonna in the Lunette of the lateral door of 
the Duomo of Pisa, for which, as appears from the 
account-roll preserved in the archives, azzurro d'Ale- 
magna was provided. Dr. A. Fabroni, of Arezzo, also 
analysed a portion of the blue colour of a MS. of the 
beginning of the fifteenth century. After describing * 
the eflPects of different chemical re-agents on this pig- 
ment, he observes, " At first sight this colour resembles 
ultramarine, or at least the finest smaltino. Neverthe- 
less it is clearly shown by analysis to be an oxide of 
copper, and I have satisfied myself by ocular examina- 
tion, as well as by the comparative eflects of re-agents, 
that it is identical with our biadetto (cendre bleue of the 
French), although it is much deeper in colour. It is 
to be observed that I have seen the same colour on 
some ancient fresco paintings which existed in the sup- 
pressed monastery of S.S. Flora and Lucilla in our 
city* which for some centuries have been exposed to the 
injuries of the air, and yet the colour is very bright.'* 
Sig. Fabroni conjectured that the colour was " moun- 

^ Lettera di Branchi, &c., pp. 7,8, 9. 

s See Riccrche Chimichc aopra le Miniature di un Manuscritto, pub- 
lished in the Acts of the Soc. of Arts, &c., of Arezzo, 1843, vol. i. p. 3. 

cxcviii INTRODUCTION. [chap. ti. 

tain blue heightened by some acid or saline preparation." 
But it appears quite possible for the colour to have been 
produced by the indurated blue carbonate of copper, 
which is of as deep and fine a colour as ultramarine 
when first prepared and used, although it differs firom 
the latter in being more easily affected by re-agents, 
and in fact by being generally less permanent Professor 
Petrini has written several articles in the * Antologia * * 
respecting the pigment azzurro della magna. In one 
of these, dated August, 1821, after mentioning the 
experiments of Branchi on the old pictures in S. Jacopo 
di Pistoia, he says, " the same experiments have been 
tried with similar success on a great number of pictures of 
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, whence it appears 
that the painters of that period knew no other mineral 
azures than ultramarine and azzurro della magna.** 

De Boot* distinguishes two kinds of azure, that which 
was fixed in the fire, and that which was not fixed. The 
former was the real ultramarine, which was always 
brought firom the East ; the latter was found in Grer- 
many, and was commonly called lazursteiuy and this^ he 
observes, " occupies a mean place between the Arme- 
nian stone, which is friable, and the lapis lazuli, which 
it resembles in hardness. The colour prepared firom 
the lazurstein is called asurhla% but many painters do 
not distinguish between this mineral and the Armenian 
stone, which they confound together, because the colours 
extracted frotn,both are alike. Nevertheless, the stones 
differ in hardness, and the colour prepared from that 
which is not fixed in the fire is generally more beau- 
tiful than that prepared from the Armenian stone. I 
possess colours prepared by my own hand, which are so 
fine that they bear comparison with ultramarine." 

The above description, as well as those of Gennini ' 

1 Published at Florence. 
* Le jjarfaict Joaillier, p. 351. 3 Trattato, cap. iz. 


and the Bolognese MS.,' corresponds with the charac- 
teristics of the indurated native blue carbonate 
copper. The difficulty of distinguishing hetween tl 
two minerals has always been felt, and there appi 
to be no test but that of fire, which was known i 
very early period.* 

The mode of preparing this mineral as a pigmeii 
described by Cennini, and in the Bolognese i 
Having shown that the blue pigment in several 
paintings, both mural and on miniatures, has been as 
tained to be copper, I shall now give a few extr 
from documents, proving that it was used on picti 
also. The stipulation in the contract to use azzi 
della magna must be considered evidence of the esb 
in which it was held. 

•' 1463, 10 Anpitt Pkdoa. 

" Agreement made between the monaster; of Sta. GiuEtina 
me, Andrea Mantegna, painter, relative to the painting of an a 
piece to be placed over the altar of S. Luca In the chnrch of 
Giuatina, by which I, Andrea Mantegna, agree to paint all 
figures at my own expense, including the coloun, for the prtc 
50 ducats in Venetian gold, and to inlay with azzurro Tadesc 
the carvings and ornaments of the said altar-piece," &c.* 

This picture, observes Moschini in 1826, is i 
fresh and intact at Milan. On my second visil 
Milan, Conte Fompeo Litta obligingly procured m< 
order, which enabled me to obtain a private vie^ 
this picture (which, with many others, had been remo 

1 P. 343. Both kinds ofcarbooata of copper appear to be deicribi 
this chapter. 'Sue pp. 247, S41, SSG. > P. 366. 

« " 1453, «di loAgostO t^dova. 

" Pati fkd con el Monutero di St*. Giustlna e mi Andrea Maniegna 
tor cerca el penger de una so pala da altare da cater mesa a I'alUr de 
Luca in la dita Gesia di Sta. Giustina soe de depenger tutte le figure t 
ipcse e color! per prexio de dacati dnquanta doro veniciani con qnesti 
debo cawpizar daturo todetco tati li iotagi e adornameoti de la dita p 
&c. Copied rroni the orignoal contract in the poasessiun of the ( 
Francesco de' Lszara, at Padua. The contract haa been published by 
chini in hia work entitled < Dell' Origins e delie Vicende della Pittu 
PadovB,' p. 34 n. 

CC INTRODUCTION. [chat. vi. 

from the gallery of Brera, for the purpose of re-laying 
the floors). The picture is divided into twelve com- 
partments, separated by columns. In the centre is an 
evangelist, and in the other compartments are saints ; 
those in the upper row are half-figures, while those in 
the lower are whole lengths. The figures are painted 
on gold grounds, and there are several dark^blue 
draperies, but the blue has turned black. All the colours 
appear to have darkened, 'except the lakes, which are as 
good as ever. The carvings and ornaments inlaid with 
blue are no longer with the picture. Andrea Mantegna 
was in his 22nd year when he painted this altar-piece. 

By a contract, dated 22nd February, 1474, Giacomo 
Filipo, a painter of Ferrara, agreed with Fra Ludovico 
da Forli, Prior of the old Church of S. Salvatore at 
Bologna, to paint certain pictures, " de boni coluri a 
modo stia bene," on a ground of " azuro todesco," of 
the price of 10 bolognini the ounce.* 

In the documents respecting the celebrated altar- 
piece by Fra Marco Pensaben at Treviso, published in 
the * Memorie Trevigiane,* a blue colour, which from 
its price could not have been ultramarine, is mentioned 
in the following terms: — "1621, 13: Ott. Dati per 
oncie 10 e mezza d'azzurro, a lire tre Tonza." 

Azzurro di Terray Azzurro di Spagna, Biadetto, 
Cenere Azzurre, Ceneretta, la Cendree^ Cendres bleues, 
Cenizas azuks, Bleu de Montague^ Bice, Terra biaua, 
Sanders bliLe, OngarOy Bleu mineraley Turchino^Berglbhu. 
— A blue pigment, prepared from carbonate of copper, 
has been known to artists under the above names fix)m 
a very early period. It appears to have been of a 
paler colour than the pigment called azzurro della 
magna,* and in fact not to have exceeded in depth of 
colour the blue of the sky. It is probable that the 
azzurro di terra was produced from the earthy blue 

1 Gualandi, Memorie di Belle Arti, Ser. iv. p. 91. 
s See Caneparius, p. 360. 


carbonate of copper; but when the latter was of a 
bluish-green colour it was employed for preparing the 
pigment called verde azzurro. 

It will be seen from the following MSS., that arti- 
ficial blue pigments prepared from copper were common 
at an early period. As these azures were easily and 
cheaply made, and as they were, when freshly pre- 
pared, but little inferior in colour to the natural pig- 
ments, they found a ready sale, and were not easily 
distinguishable from the native pigments ; indeed it 
appears from more than one writer of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, that it was not generally 
known whether " cenere azzurre '* were natural or arti- 
ficial productions. The author of the ^ Trattato di 
Miniatura ' remarks (p. 52), " It is not known exactly 
what the * cenere azzurre ' of England really are, or 
how they are made. They are brought from Dantzic 
by the English and Dutch, who export them to France 
and other places, whence they are called * cenere 
dTnghilterra.' ** Pierre Pomet says * that " cendre 
bleue " is a composition, or pulverized stone, brought 
from England or Rouen, whence it is imported into 
France by the Swedes, Hamburghers, and Danes. 
Notwithstanding the diligent inquiries I have made, I 
have found it impossible to ascertain the nature of the 
"cendre bleue :" some tell me it is a composition made 
at Roueti ; but as those who make it keep it a secret, 
I could not learn how it is made. The author of the 
* Traits de la Peinture au Pastel ' appears to have been 
better informed ; he says, " a Tfegard de la cendre bleue, 
c*est une terre charg^e d'une certaine quantity de 
chaux minferale de cuivre ; le ton de ce mineral est d'un 
bleu naissant tres agr&able." 

It is almost unnecessary to observe that sanders 
blue is a corruption of " cendre bleue." 

A blue pigment prepared from the native ore of 

■ . ■ J J J ■ _ I * ■ — _^ ^- ^ 

1 Hist. G^dnile des Drogues, vol. ii. p. 386. 

ceil INTRODUCTION- [chaf. ti. 

copper was in use in Italy at the time of Lomazzo 
under the name of " Ongaro/'* This is the pigment 
which, it is stated on the auAority of Pacheco, Michael 
Coxie obtained from Titian for the purpose of painting 
the mantle of the Virgin in the copy he was making of 
the celebrated altar-piece of the Van Eycks at Ghent* 
Ongaro is mentioned in the Faduan MS. 

Biadetto, — This term, which occurs so frequently in 
technical works on painting, has been applied both to 
the native and to the artificial pigment prepared from 
copper. There is no doubt that at an early period of 
art the natural pigment (which was of a much finer 
colour than the factitious) was much used.' Mr. East- 
lake * has discovered the true derivation of the term 
" biadetto " in the * Bladetus de Inde ' of the Venetian 
MS., which is identified by De Mayerne with "la 
cendrfee,** and beia or bice. " La cendr^e*' is described 
to be " made of the blue stone which comes firom India, 
and which is found in silver mines.'* 

The "azzurro di biadetti" of Borghini and Baldi- 
nucci was the artificial pigment. The native mineral 
pigment is mentioned under the term azzurro di vena 
naturale, and both these are distinguished from azzurro 
della magna. The biadetto now sold in Italy is the 
artificial pigment which is imported from England ; but I 
could not ascertain the commercial name. The modern 
biadetto is described in the * Secreti ' of Era Fortuoato 
to be composed of verdigris, sal-ammoniac, and tartar. 

The name turchino is stated to have been applied 
to this class of pigments in consequence of their being 
imported at one time into Italy in large quantities by the 
Turks ;^ others trace the name to the resemblance of the 
colour of the pigment to the blue stone called turquoise, 
a mineral which also owes its colour to copper. 

1 SeeTrattato, p. 191. * See Pacheco, p. 373. > Lettera di Branchi. 
* Materials, &c., p. 121. * See Ciampi, Notizie, &c., p. 67. 


A modern blue pigment, known under the name of 
copper, mountain^ English, Hambro\ limey kassler^ 
mineral, and Neuwieder blue^ is prepared Irom carbo- 
nate of copper, with hydrated oxide of copper and lime. 
" It is obtained by a particular process (which at pre- 
sent is kept in part secret), by decomposing subchloride 
of copper by a solution of caustic potash, and afterwards 
mixing the mass with caustic lime, and exposing the 
mixture for some time to the air. When the greenish* 
blue colour has become a pure blue, the mass is dried 
and ground into a rather coarse, crumbling, or dust-like 
powder. The darker sorts contain only a small per- 
centage of quick lime ; but the lighter sorts, on the con- 
trary, from 20 to 70 per cent. Mountain blue is used 
as a lime colour, but chiefly for colouring rooms, on 
account of its unchangeability on lime grounds ; some- 
times as enamel colour instead of oxide of copper." * 

Although Boschini affirms that biadetto was one of 
those colours which the Venetians " abhorred like the 
plague," there is evidence to show that blue pigments 
from copper were used by Venetian painters. The 
fact of Titian having in his possession some of the 
colour called "ongaro" has been already mentioned. 
Paolo Veronese is stated by Signor Pietro Edwards 
to have employed " a certain mineral azure which is no 
longer in use ;" and Paolo's well-known practice of mix- 
ing his blues with size may be considered a confirmation 
of this assertion, since the copper blues if used with oil 
were certain to change. A Venetian artist, whose 
family have always been painters, and who doubtless 
possesses much traditionary knowledge, also stated that 
the Venetians used a " terra azzurra ** * which is now 
lost ; but he added, that on analysis biadetto had been 
found on the pictures of Tintoretto only. The * Tarifla' 

- - ' — .- -■ 

^ Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. vi. p. 82. 

s Caneparius also mentions (p. 360, 362) a ** terra ccrulea.'* 

CCiv INTRODUCTION. [chap, ti. 

of Zuane Mariana proves that a terra biaua was in 
1567 imported into Venice in such quantities as to be 
sold by the peso grosso; and when we consider the 
immense quantity of blue found on the paintings of the 
Venetian school, we are obliged to conclude either that 
ultramarine was much more plentiAil than it is at 
present) or that some other blue pigment has been 
used. To the above instances must be added the 
opinion current in Venice that biadetto is the pigment 
which best matches the blue found in Venetian pictures. 

The use of blue pigments from copper appears to 
have prevailed in other schools of the North of Italy. 
I was informed at Milan that the blue in the drapery 
of the Virgin in the St. Jerome of Correggio, at Parma, 
was painted with biadetto. It appears, that either 
biadetto or azzurro della magna was used by Lionardo 
da Vinci, since there are the following entries in his 
MS. book of drawings in the Ambrogiana Library at 
Milan : ^^ di spesa tra azurro, oro, biaca, giesso, indacho, 
et choUa ; lire 3 . . . . fra smalto, azurro, e altri colori, 
lire H, fra azurro e oro, lire 3i, un' oncia d'azuro, soldi 
10." Here we have the exact price of the "azuro," 
which could not have been ultramarine, and which 
appears to have been too cheap for azzurro della magna.^ 

With regard to the manner in which these pigments 
were employed — in the first place it is clear that they 
cannot be used with oil without turning green.* It is 
true that Borghini, Baldinucci, and Lomazzo state that 
they may be used with oil; but Bisagno remarks "la 
.ceneretta is but little adapted for painting skies, be- 
cause it becomes green in time :" and the author of the 
* Traite de la Peinture au Pastel ' observes that cendres 
bleues might be employed in tempera painting and in 

I The price of this pigment at Florence, in 1459| was 3 great florins the 
oz. ; see a letter from Benozzo GozzoH in the Carteggio luedito, vol. i. 
p. 193. The author of the Bol. MS. states that azzurro della magna was 
sold from 10 to SO bolognini the oz. 

* See Palomino, vol. ii. p. 52. 


unimportant works, that cupreous earths might be used 
for peinturage (by which ' he probably meant common 
decorative effects), but never for painting, even in fresco. 

Paolo Veronese is stated to have generally painted 
the blues in his pictures with size ; Signor Pietro Ed- 
wards mentions ^ that in the picture by Paolo in the ceil- 
ing of the CoUegio in the Ducal Palace at Venice, the 
blue sky was painted in tempera, and the clouds with oil. 

As the grounds employed by Paolo consisted gene- 
rally of a thin coating of glue and gesso only, no prepa- 
ration was necessary before applying the blue of the sky 
with size. But when the blue was required to be laid 
upon oil colours, it was necessary to apply a thin coat 
of varnish, or to rub the surface with juice of garlic.^ 
The colour was afterwards varnished. Fra Fortunato 
of Rovigo states, that to prepare biadetto for miniature 
painting, so that it should spread well, it should be 
ground with burnt roche alum, or with a little tartar or 
sandarac. He adds, biadetto should be ground very 
fine, and used with varnish made of spirit of turpentine 
and clear mastic ; it will then spread well, glaze bril- 
liantly, and be of a beautiful colour. Blue was some- 
times applied in powder. De Boot mentions* that 
" on account of the excessive price of ultramarine, 
painters were accustomed to dead colour the parts of 
their pictures intended to be blue with Armenian stone, 
or a blue glass called smalt, to which white was added 
for the lights. When this preparation was quite dry, 
ultramarine, mixed with nut oil and spirit of turpentine, 
or varnish, was glazed over it By this means the 
colours spread beneath, as if under a glass, became 
brilliant and splendid, borrowing through this veil from 
the ultramarine, not only beauty but durability; so 

> In a document addressed to Sig. Savio Gassier, dated the 25th of Aug., 
1780, and now preserved in the Academy at Venice, where I saw it. 
» See Mr. Eastlake's * Materials/ &c., p. 455. 
3 Le parfaict Joaillier, &c., p. 372. 

CCVi INTRODUCTION. [chaf. vi, 

that in two hundred years they lost but little of their 
brightness and beauty/* Yolpato directs ^ that aszurro 
di Spagna should be tempered as firmly as possible 
with nut oil, and that it should be made to flow with 
spirit of turpentine. 

Bisii^no remarks that ceneretta must not be mixed 
with smaltino, because these colours are inimical to 
each other,* and Constant de Massoul ' makes the same 
remark with regard to cendre bleue and orpiment. 

There is one peculiarity attending the blue pigments 
in Italian pictures, which was first pointed out to me by 
a Milanese artist, and this is that the blues invariably 
are raised above the surface of the other colours, and 
that in some cases (and he particularly instanced 
Correggio's S. Jerome at Parma) they stand up as high 
as a five franc piece above the canvass. I have myself 
seen them on some pictures raised to the height of an 
English shilling. This artist ascribed the effect to the 
diflSculty of using thfe blue, and to the necessity of 
repeating the colour several times. 

Facheco's method of using blue pigments has been 
described briefly by Mr. Eastlake.* 

Smalto and Smaltini, JEmaily Azur h poudrer. — 
There were two kinds of pigment of this name, one of 
which was a preparation of zaffre, the other was a glass 
composed of sand, nitre, and copper filings. The latter 
is the Vestorian azure described by Vitruvius, which 
was called also azzurro di Pozzuoli. It was chiefly 
used in fresco painting.* The smalto made at Venice 
in the time of Caneparius seems to have been of the 
latter kind, since this author describes the first under 
the term zaphara. 

1 P. 747. ^ Pacheco, however, reoommends that azul de 

Santo Domingo should be shaded with good smalti. Tratado, p. 391. 

» Art of Painting, p. 176. 

4 Materials, &c., p. 431 ; and see Pacheco, p. 361. 

& See translations of Vitruvius by Orsini, published in 1822 ; and bjGal- 
liani, published at Naples in 1758. 


It is not always easy to decide which pigment is 
intended when these terms are employed, for there is 
evidence that they were both in use at the same time 
in Italy. Lomazzo mentions ^' gli smalti, come quello 
di Fiandra che ^ il migliore de gl' altri tutti ;" from the 
last words it might almost be inferred that other vitri- 
fied pigments of this kind were known, besides the two 
above-men^oned. There is little doubt that the " smalto 
di Fiandra " was zaffre^ and that it was very similar to 
the pigment we now call "smalt" The smaltino of 
the ' Abecedario * was also a preparation of zaffre. 

One kind of azzurro di smalto only is mentioned by 
Borghini;^ this he states was composed of glass, and 
w^as used in fresco, in tempera, and in oil. 

Lionardi da Vinci mentions " smalto " among the 
colours provided for the decoration of the apartments 
in the casde in which Lodovico il Moro resided ;* but 
at the period when these paintings were executed 
(1492), it is scarcely probable that zaffre was known in 
Italy. In the absence, therefore, of evidence to the 
contrary, we must believe that the smalto mentioned 
by him was of the same nature as the smaltino used by 
his contemporary Pietro Perugino for the mantle of the 
Vii^in in his picture at Montone. Baldassare Orsini 
states that the smaltino in this picture was painted in 
distemper on a ground of black; and to modify, the 
brightness of this blue Pietro had stippled the whole 
drapery with lake. With regard to the composition of 
the smaltino, Orsini states that he had analysed this 
colour, and had found that it was a vitrified pigment 
like that described by Yitruvius in powder, and that it 
was tempered with flour paste.' 

Smaltino appears also to have been occasionally em- 
ployed in oil-paintings, as we learn from Borghini, and 
from Bisagno; the latter says it should not be mixed 

I Riposo, p. 173. * Amoretti, Meinorie Storiche di L. da Vinci, p. 38. 

3 Elogior e Memorie di Pietro Perugino, p. 208, and n. 

ccvin INTRODUCTION. [chap, vl 

with " ceneretta," . and that for painting skies it should 
be mixed with white lead, and tempered with nut oil. 
This pigment is called ^^cenUee" in the Brussels MS.* 
Lebrun states * that very beautiful blue draperies are 
made with " azur a poudrer ** (smalt) :* they must be 
first painted with black and white, the lights being 
bright (that is to say, very white), and the shades being 
very dark, and then sprinkled with " azur a poudrer." 
Mr. Eastlake gives* several instances of blue being 
painted in this manner. Christophe Ballard recom- 
mends* that email (smalt) should be mixed with oil 
of turpentine, in order that it may dry and not flow, 
email, he states, " being very difficult to use ; for if it be 
made too liquid it will flow ; and if too thick and firm 
you will not be able to use it ; but by mixing it with 
spirit of turpentine it may be easily used ; for the oil of 
turpentine evaporates in the air.** This author gives 
the following directions for preventing the colour from 
flowing (qu'elle ne coule) : — "When you have painted 
your drapery, you will place your picture upon the 
ground, or upon a table; then you will take some 
crumpled paper, such as the grey paper used by mer- 
chants, tear it into small pieces, and let it fall upon 
your work. The paper will absorb all the oil; and 
when the blue is nearly dry, and, as we say, * embu,' 
even although it should not be quite dry, the paper will 
prevent the colour from flowing. To remove the 
paper, you must strike the picture upon a corner, and 
all the paper will fall off: and note, that you must not 
suffer it to dry, or you will not be able to remove the 
paper ; neither must the pieces of paper be too large, or 
they will mark the drapery."* 

IP.804. «P. 821. 

« Pierre Pomet, Hist, des Drogues, vol. i. p. 192, 193. 

* Materials, &c., p. 431, 466. » Traits de Mignature, p. 216, 217. 

* For other methods of using smalt, see also Mr. Eastlake's * Materials,' 
&c., p. 427—432. 


In 1676, "the finest ground smalt that ever came into 
England " was valued at 88. a pound.^ 

The early history of cobalt and zaffi'e is involved in 
so much obscurity, and the evidence respecting it 
appears so conflicting, that it is considered useless to 
enter into the subject in the present work.* The same 
remark applies to the zaffirro of the middle ages, which, 
although it decidedly signifies in some cases ultra- 
marine, or lapis lazuli, is yet used so vaguely that it 
cannot be understood to be limited to this substance 
only. The diflSculty of coming to any decision on this 
subject may be estimated by the consideration that the 
term zafirro, saffiro, or saphiro, was used to denote a 
precious stone of a blue colour as well as a blue mineral, 
which from its description must be lapis lazuli; that 
zaflera, saphra, or zafire was a blue pigment prepared 
from cobalt, which is now known by the name of smalt, 
and that safar is the Moorish name for copper.' So 
little variation is there between the terms used to de- 
signate the three minerals from which the principal blue 
pigments are made. 

Various kinds of artificial mineral azures were em- 
ployed in Italy ; many of these are described in the 
Bolognese MS. (cap. ii.). The pigment described at 
p. 388 is represented to be better than azzurro della 
magna, and in appearance and colour to be equal to 
ultramarine. Another of these azures is stated to be 
worth four ducats th^ pound ; * and a third, five gold 

1 Wa]pole*s Anecdotes, vol. iii. p. 137. 

* It may be observed here that the Egyptians were acquainted with 
cobalt, but they used it only for colouring glass. The small blue figurines 
are coloured with copper, and neither M. Laurent, M. Malaguti, nor M. 
Salvetat, have been able to detect any cobalt in them. See De Brongniart, 
Traits des Arts C^ramiques, p. 668, 663. The experiments of Prof. John, 
of Berlin, prove that the blues in the Egyptian paintings were oxides of 
copper, with a small intermixture of iron, and that none of them contain 
cobalt. See ' The Epochs of Painting characterised : a Sketch of the His- 
tory of Pointing, Ancient and Modem,' by Mr. Wornuro. 

3 See Mr. Fords Hand-book for Spain, p. 128. < P. 391. 

VOL. I. O 


ducats the pound.* Borghiiii describes ^ several of these 
artificial azures. But of all the pigments of this class 
there is none which is mentioned so frequently by aH 
writers on colours as the azure said to be prepared from 
silver.' Yet, in spite of the most diligent inquiry, I have 
been unable to ascertain that any salt of silver is ca- 
pable of producing a blue colour. It is probable that the 
composition of such a pigment may have been suggested 
by the known fact, that the old bladetus de Inde before 
mentioned was found in silver mines ; and it is very 
probable that the medieval artists attributed to silver 
the blue colour which was actually owing to the copper 
with which the silver was mixed. Whenever a blue 
colour was really produced from the solution of silver 
plates in acetic acid, it may be concluded that the 
colour was produced by the solution of the copper with 
which the silver was alloyed ; and there appears to be 
no evidence to support the assertion found in some 
medieval M8S., that a blue colour could be produced 
from pure silver. The blue pigment composed of sul- 
phur, mercury, and sal ammoniac, has been called 
Venetian azure.* 

Bleu Minerale. — There is some doubt as to the 
nature of the pigment known in Italy by this name. 
Some persons consider it the same as turchino; and 
it seems a pigment prepared from copper and lime is 
still sold under this name. Other persons state that it 
was a preparation of cobalt, and was brought from Ger- 
many. In the Pharmaceutical Journal * it is stated to 
be a cyanide of iron, produced by mixing a solution of 
sulphate of iron with prussiate of potash, and carefully 
heating the light precipitate, which is formed with nitric 
acid, till it assumes a deep blue colour. The white 
substances used for the finer sorts are alumina, gypsum, 

1 P. 403. 8 Riposo, p. 173. 

3 Le Begue, p. 47, 49. Bol. MS., p. 395, 399. Theoph., £. ed., p. 422. 

4 See recipes at the end of the Abecedario Pittorico. * Vol. vi. p. 82. 


and heavy spar ; for the more common sorts, starch or 
clay. The same author also mentions that Prussian 
blue mixed with the oxide of zinc, was formerly sold 
under the name of bleu minerale.^ 

Uliramariney Azur d'Acre. — The exact period when 
this fine pigment was introduced is not yet determined. 
There is no doubt, however, that the real lapis lazuli 
from Tartary was known in the thirteenth century, since 
it is mentioned in the work of Yousouf Jeifaschy, who 
appears to have been a jeweller of Cairo.* The term 
ultramarine must have been common in Italy at the 
beginning of the fourteenth century, since it occurs in 
the Italian MS. of Johannes de Modena,^ and in the 
recipe giveu by Michelino de Vesuccio to Alcherius, 
both of which were copied in 1410. In some MSS. it 
is called " azurrum transmarinum," in contradistinction 
to azzurro della magna, which was called azzurrum 
citramarinum.^ Ultramarine has always been occasion- 
ally used by the Italian painters, and so much was it 
esteemed that it was frequently the subject of a parti- 
cular stipulation in contracts. It was generally sup- 
plied by the person who ordered the picture, but in 
some cases the artist himself agreed to employ it. Thus 
in 1501, Aloese Vivarino di Murano agreed to use 
ultramarine in his picture painted for the guardians of 
the Scuola della Carita.* It was employed by Paolo 
Veronese in the "Nozze di Cana;"^ by Leandro Bas- 
sano, in his picture of the Battle of the good Angels 
with Lucifer, and in that of Sta. Lucia, painted for the 
church of S. Giorgio Maggiore at Venice ; ' by Pietro 

I See Traits de la Pcinture au Paste), where this colour is said not to 
have been affected by the strongest vapours of liver of sulphur in efferves- 
cence with the mineral acids. 

« Depping, Hist, du Commerce, vol. i. p. 147. ^ P. 96, 102. 

4 P. 348 and n. 

* For this notice, extracted from the Venetian archives, I am indebted 
to the Abbate Cadorin, the biographer of Titian. 

« Iscriz. Venet, vol. iv. p. 263. ' Ibid., p. 349, 362. 



Perugmo, for his picture in the Duomo of C 
Palma Giovane, for the pictures he painted : 
at Treviso, in 1618;* by Gio. Batista Pc 
the Pala d'Altare in the choir of the Archi 
at Treviso,' in 1551 ; by Denys Calvart, in 
by Francesco Albano, in 1639/ for their pi 
church of the Servites at Bolt^na ; by Ir 
Imola, in his pictures in S. Michele in . 
Felice Damiani, in 1593 ; ' and by Ludovi^ 
in 1587, ' in the picture of the Conversion 
It appears, from various entries in the a< 
kept by Guercino * of the receipts for his pi 
he generally employed ultramarine which w 
by his employer. Sometimes the pigment, 
pared, was given to him, and sometimes the 
Irom which it appears he was to prepare 
himself. Thus, for the picture called " L'. 
tuoso," be received twenty-one ounces of la 
make ultramarine. 

Contrary to the assertion of some mot 
Pungeleone states ' that Correggio always i 
ultramarine, although it appears that hi 
" azzurro " (probably azzurro della magna), 
but three lire the ounce, for the decoration c 
del anchona de lo altare grando " at Correg 

Ultramarine is stated to have been found > 
pictures ; and although the artists of this schc 
the blue pigments from copper, there seems 
that the greater part of Uie ultramarine in 

I Oraini, Elc^o di Pietro Peragino, p. 194 and n. 
■ Memorio Trevigiane, vol. ii. p. 59. 
3 IWd., p. 76. 

* Gualandi, Memorie, »er. i. p. 4, 19. * Ibid., | 

* Ibid., ser. ii. p. 4. ' Ibid., ter. i 
B Tho original account book is in the Ercolani Colled 

It iifts been published in the new edition of tho FeUina Pit 
Aie^andro Calvi, at Bologna. 

9 Lire of Correggio, vol. i. p. 248. i" Ibid., vo! 


Italy was introduced by way of Venice, which was the 
great emporium of Oriental commerce. 

The price of ultramarine at different periods has been 
preserved by several writers. In 1437 it was sold at 
Florence for eight ducats the ounce.^ In 1548 the 
price at Venice was sixty scudi the ounce.* In 1788 
the price at Paris was one hundred francs, or even as 
much as fifty crowns the ounce.' The value of ultra- 
marine is not slated in the Bolognese MS., but the price 
of a pound of lapis lazuli varied, according to the good- 
ness of the specimen, from two to five ducats. De 
Boot mentions * that lapis lazuli was usually sold for 
eight or ten thalers the pound, and if the stone was 
good it would produce at least ten ounces of azure. One 
of the best specimens would yield five and a half ounces 
of the best colour, worth twenty thalers the ounce. 
The second quality was worth five or six thalers, the 
third only one thaler, or one and a half The price paid 
by Lely for one ounce of ultramarine was 21. 1 O5., but 
for the best kind he paid as much as 4/. lOs. the ounce.* 

Pacheco states • that ultramarine was not used by the 
Spanish painters in his time, but it was introduced 
at a subsequent period, since he himself mentions the 
colour ; ^ and Palomino gives directions ® for using it. 
The latter remarks that it was never used in the first 
painting, because, as it had but little body, it did not 
cover well ; and also because, as it was very dear, it 
would have been employed uselessly ; it was therefore 
either glazed or worked upon some of the other blues. 
When employed in glazing it was only necessary to 
mix it with nut-oil, and to pass it over the drapery with 
a soft brush, moistened with nut-oil and a few drops of 
spirit of turpentine, so as to leave it smooth and even. 

1 Ccnnini, Trattato, cap. 62. > Paolo Pino, Dialogo, p. 18. 

^ Traitd de la Peinture au Pastel. ^ Le parfaict Joaillier^ p. 371. 
» Walpole's Anecdotes, vol. lii. pp. 130, 132. « Tratado, p. 891. 
' Ibid., p. 392. 8 Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 68. 

CCXiv INTRODUCTION. [chaf. tl 

If the drapery was to be painted with ultramarine, the 
light and dark tints were to be mixed with white lead 
and nut-oil, and the shadows heightened with indigo, 
and if the drapery were previously glazed with ultra- 
marine it would be more easy to execute. As a dryer, 
Palomino recommends pulverized smalt ; but, be says, it 
must be used cautiously or it will spoil the colour of the 

De Piles also remarks,* that ultramarine should not 
be employed for the first painting, but that the lights 
and shades should be painted in very distinctly, the 
high lights consisting of pure white, with common 
colours ; or that the first shade tints, and even the half 
tints, may be painted with charcoal of the willow, which 
inclines to blue, or with bone black, and then finished 
with ultramarine ; but he adds, that this last method 
was not so good as the former, neither were tl)e tints so 

Ultramarine was employed by Simone Gantarini with 
terra verde in the shadows of flesh, and probably by 
Guido and some of his pupils,' and by Baroccio ; ^ and 
Padre Francesco Lana recommends ^ that it should be 
mixed with all the flesh tints. 

Blue pigments prepared from v^etables are not 
numerous ; the principal are those procured firom indigo 
and woad. Blue colours were also procured from the 
flowers of the cornflower,* from turnsol or folium, and 
other plants. The use of these pigments was limited to 
miniature painting. Gvato, or more correctly ffuadoj 
is the Italian name for the isatis tinctoria, called also 
glastum sativum — a plant which grows spontaneously in 
France, Germany, England, and other parts of Europe. 
It was called glastum by the Bomans, and is now 

1 Museo Pictorico, vo!. ii. p. 67. • £Umen8, pp. 108, 118. 

« Malvasia, Fels. Pitt., vol. ii. pp. 80, 448. 
4 Bellori, Vite, &c., p. 118. * » P. 746. 

^ Constant de Massoul, p. 186. * 


known in France by the names of Pastel, Vouede, 
and Gaude. 

There is sufficient evidence to show that indigo was 
known as a pigment in the time of the Romans, and 
that it was used as such during the middle ages in 
Italy, where it was sold under the name of indigo 
bagadel, indigo baccadeo or bandas, indacca detto 
buccaddeo, indaco del golfo.^ But there is no doubt 
that the pigment called " indigo," so frequently men- 
tioned by writers on colours in the thirteenth, four- 
teenth, and fifteenth centuries, was generally prepared 
from woad, and not from the real indigo. This will 
appear from various recipes in the Bolognese MS.»* in 
the whole of which woad is the principal ingredient 

It will be observed that the pigment is generally 
prepared from the blue or purple coloured scum which 
floats on the dyers' vats, and which is the produce of 
fermentation. This agrees with the account of Diosco- 
rides, who says there were two kinds of indigo, the first 
of which was brought from India, but the second, which 
was made during tiie process of dyeing, was a purple 
scum which floated on the surface of the vats. In com- 
menting on this passage, Matthioli observes,' ^^ the 
indigo generally used by the painters was that made 
in dyehouses, which was procured from woad with 
which wool is dyed." This passage alone is sufficient 
to prove that the term " indigo " was applied to woad. 
Beckmann says,^ that under the name indigo must 
be understood every kind of blue pigment separated 
from plants by fermentation, and converted into a 
friable substance by desiccation ; for those who should 
maintain that the real indigo must be made from those 

1 Depping, vol. i. p. 141. See Cennini/Trattato, cap. 61. Le Begue, 
pp. 86, 273. 

* Pp. 412 — 416. See also Secreti di D. Alessio, parte ii. p. 34 ; Nuovo 
Plicto d'ogni sorte di Tinture ; and Paduan MS., p. 676. 

3 Trans, of Dioscorides, p. 1414. ^ Inventions, tit. Indigo. 




plants named in the botanical system Indigofera tmo- 
toria^ would confine the subject within too narrow 
limits ; as the substance which our merchants and dyers 
consider as real indigo is prepared in different countries 
from so great a number of plants, that they are not 
even varieties of the same species." Although indigo 
was not considered a durable colour, it appears to have 
been occasionally used in oil. 

The tints were made with white lead. Palomino 
says,^ ^^ that it is a fine colour for draperies, and works 
pleasantly, but that it is necessary to observe the fol- 
lowing conditions : 1st, That the lights should not be 
too light, because the colour fades — therefore the tints 
should be sufficiently deep ; the 2nd and most impor- 
tant, that the tints should not be too oily, but thick, and 
not tormented with the brush ; and 3rdly, that the 
colour should be well purified." Different modes of 
purifying indigo are described by Palomino,^ and in the 
recipes at the end of the Abecedario Pittorico, and also 
in the Paduan MS.^ When carefully employed, Feli- 
bien states ^ that it is durable if properly used, but that 
too much oil must not be mixed with it, and allowance 
must be made for its tendency to fade. 

Green Pigments. 

Mineral green pigments, both natural and artificial, 
are produced from copper. The native green ores of 
this metal have always been used in painting under the 
names of mountain green, Hungarian green, chrysocolla^ 
malachite^ cenere verde, verde de miniera, verde di 
Spaxjna, verdetto, s,nd green bice. To these colours 
must be added terra verde, which is said by some per- 
sons to owe its colour to copper ; * others consider that 

1 Vol. ii. p. 67. * Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 67. 

» P. 676. * Des Principes, &c., p. 299. 

^ Marcucci, Saggio, &c., p. 71. Pierre Pomet, Hist, des Drogues, vol. 
ii. p. 385. 


it is a bluish or grey coaly clay, combined with yel 
oxide of iron or yellow ochre.' It was someti 
called Prasino and Theodote. Pierre Pomet? states I 
mountain green was a greenish powder in small gri 
like sand, and that it was distinguished by this sa 
appearance from the artificial, which consisted of ] 
verized verdigris mixed with a little white lead. It 
also sometimes adulterated with cendre verte, of wl 
there were many varieties.' Mountain green app* 
to have been but little used in oil painting. 

Native carbonate of copper, although sometime 
pure blue and sometimes pure green, was irequentb 
a mixed colour, when it was called tjerde azzurro. 

Prasino or Prasminum. — Isidorus gives this nami 
green earth* (terre verte). But in some cases 
name has been applied to a white earth saturated y 
a vegetable juice of a green colour, as in the Bologr 
MS., No. 88. 

Vm-de Porro — Perhaps the same as the Prasinc 
the middle ages. It is mentioned in the Paduan JV 
also by Pozzo in his instructions for painting in frei 
and by Baldinucci '^ the latter states that it wa 
pigment of a whitish green colour, like that of the h 
whence it takes its name. It appears that during 
middle ages the juice of the leek was actually usee 
a pigment.* 

Various artificial green pigments were prepared ft 
copper which were known to medieval painters un 
the names of viride salsum, viride Hispanicum, mi 
Rothomagense, and viride Grcecum. In the last e 
be traced the verdigris (verd de Gr^ce) ' of the mode 

The best kind of verdigris was prepared at M 
seiltes by a process which has been ft-equently descril 

1 Field, Chramatography, p. 233; and see Merim^, p. 191. 
» Hbt. des Drogues, vo), ii, p. 286. » Ibid., p. 385. 

* See p. 244, n. 4 ; and Theopbllus, E. cd., lOl. d Voc Dis. 

• See p. 156. '' Sec Mr. Easlbkc's ' Materials,' &c., p. HE 


This pigment was known to the Spaniards by the names 
of verdete and cardenillo. Verdigris was generally 
purified by redissolving It in vinegar, and then suffering 
it to crystallize in large crystals, by the evaporation of 
the vinegar, when it was sold under the name of " dis- 
tilled " or " crystallized verdigris " and " verde etemo/* 

Verdetto. — There are several pigments of this name. 
1 . A mineral green pigment which, according to Bor- 
ghini and Baldinucci, is found in the mountains of Ger- 
many ; this probably was mountain green or malachite, 
the green carbonate of copper. 2. A vegetable pig- 
ment mentioned by Lomazzo and in the Paduan MS., 
which was of a yellowish colour, apparently of the 
nature of brown pink; Haydocke called this colour 
holy green. 3. An artificiid green pigment prepared 
fi:om copper, called " Verdet " in tibe Brussels MS.,* 
and Verdete by the Spanish. These two pigments 
differ in the mode of preparation. 

Verde etemo. — Another name for distilled or crys- 
tallized verdigris.* It is a neutral acetate of copper, 
prepared by dissolving verdigris in hot acetic acid, 
and leaving the filtered solution to cool. It forms 
beautifiil dark green crystals. It is said to have been 
much used by the Venetian painters. This colour is 
mentioned by Volpato, who remarks,* " II verde etemo 
si cristalino chiaro e di color vivace." Baldinucci says* 
it was so called because it never lost its brightness, as 
all other greens did. He adds that this was nothing 
else but a glazing of purified verdigris spread thin over 
silver leaf.* 

Green pigments prepared from vegetables are name- 
rous. The principal of these are sap greeriy the verde di 
vesicha and pasta verde of the Italians, prepared fi'om 
the berries of the buckthorn (Spincervino — Rhamnus 

1 P. 806. 8 Marcucci, Saggio, &c., p. 74. » P. 744. 

4 Voc. Dis. » Sec also Mr. Eastlake's < Materials/ p. 458. 



catharticus). The juice being boiled down was inspis- 
sated, and when dry was preserved in bladders. 

Lily or Iris green (verde giglio). — This pigment was 
sometimes prepared for use by dipping pieces of linen 
(pezzette) into the juice and then preserving them dry. 
Green pigments were also prepared from rue, parsley, 
columbine, and from the black nightshade (the herba 
morella of the Italians, which must be distinguished 
from the "maurelle" or Croton tinctorium). The 
juice of this plant was incorporated with green earth ; 
in this respect it resembled the pigments called by the 
French stils de grain, prepared from the berries of the 
Khamnus infectorius (grain d' Avignon). The colour 
of these pigments varied from a brownish green (brown 
pink) to yellow. 

It was generally considered that mixed greens, com- 
posed of blue and yellow, were more permanent than 
any of the before-mentioned green pigments. They 
were frequently compounded of ultramarine and orpi- 
ment, of azzurro della magna and giallolino, of indigo 
and orpiment, and of one of the mineral blues with a 

yellow lake.^ 

Verdigris, and especially distilled verdigris, or 
verde eterno, was extensively employed by all the 
Italian schools for glazing, and especially by the Vene- 
tian, and the brilliant green draperies on the pictures 
of this school were produced by this colour. 

Verdigris was sometimes added to black to make it 
dry," but Le Brun remarks ^ that it must only be used 
in the shadows, for it is a poison in painting, and kills 
all the colours with which it is mixed. It appears, 
from the Paduan MS.^ to have been sometimes mixed 
with vegetable greens and yellows, and also with umber 

1 See Cennini, cap. 63, 64, 66 ; Borghini, p. 170. « Volpato, p. 747. 
8 P. 823, and see De Piles, Elemens, &c., p. 124. F^libien, Princjpes, 
&c., 300. * P. 652. 


and indigo for making dark green. It should, however, 
be used alone; and De Piles observes^ that if the 
smallest particle of it enter into the priming of a pic- 
ture, it is sufficient to ruin it It is even necessary, he 
adds, to avoid using with other colours the brushes 
which have been employed for verdigris. 

Lionardo da Vinci remarks* that it was liable not 
only to fade, but to be removed from the picture by 
washing it with water, unless a coat of varnish was 
passed over it. 

Volpato also notices the solubility of this colour in 
water, and remarks that it must be removed from the 
palette before the latter is put into water to preserve 
the colours when the day's work is over. In the 
Venetian school it appears the colour was usually 
laid on with varnish. 

Pacheco directs^ tiiat purified verdigris should be 
ground in oil for the first painting, but for the last 
glazing varnish should be added. Lebrun says * that 
to make a very beautiful green" for glazing, verdigris 
should be used with varnish ; it will then be very beau- 
tifiil, and will not fade. In another place he observes,* 
" Verdigris is very good, if employed with fat oil." 

Verdigris is liable to turn black in time, and when 
in Ais state the surface has been removed by a pen- 
knife, and the colour beneath was found to be per- 
fectly fresh and bright. 

Borghini states* that terra verde was used in all 
three (fresco, oil, and tempera) kinds of painting. Le- 
brun remarks f " Verd de terre is used in the shades 
of flesh-colour, but it must be employed sparingly, for 
with age the colour appears crude, which would produce 
a bad effect." Merim^e observes® that Rubens had 
made great use of this colour, not only in landscapes but 

1 Elcmens, &c., p. 124. * Trattato, cap. xcix. 

• 3 Tratado, p. 389. * P. 813. » P. 816. 

« Riposo, p. 169. 7 p. 813. » De la Peinture k rHuilc, p. 102. 


in his carnations. He concurs with Le Brun in the fact 
of the colour deepening in time, and states that for this 
reason terre verte should be employed cautiously. 
There are frequent notices in Italian writers of terre 
verte being employed in painting the shades of flesh, 
but it is not always clear whether the pigment was 
used raw or burnt. Thus Malvasia,^ in speaking of 
Simone Cantarini's method of painting flesh, remarks, 
" He was therefore as partial to white lead as he was 
inimical to lake and umber for his outlines and shades ; 
in which he used to employ plenty of ultramarine and 
terra verde, learning from Guido the value of these 
two colours in painting delicate shadows." It is very 
possible that as the terra verde was used for the sha- 
dows, it might have been burnt. Lomazzo directs* 
that the shadow colour for flesh should be made with 
nero di campana and burnt terra verde, or with umber 
and burnt terra verde ; and the Paduan MS.' states 
that umber, burnt terra verde, and asphaltum were 
used for the same purpose. 

Brown Pigments. 

The brown pigments used in the middle ages were 
very few; those employed by the Italians were not 
numerous, and they are frequently classed with black 
pigments. The principal were bistre, which is men- 
tioned by medieval writers under the name of fuligo 
and by Lomazzo under that of ftdigine ; umber, raw 
and burnt; Cologne earth, burnt terra verde, and 

Umber is a hydrate of oxide of iron mixed with a 
variable quantity of oxide of manganese and a small 
proportion of clay.* Merimee says it contains silica and 
alumina also. The best is reputed to be brought from 
the Levant, although it is really the produce, of 

1 Fcls. Pitt., vol. ii. p. 448. » Trattato, p. 302. 3 p. 660. 

* De Brongniart, Essaie des Arts Ceramiques, p. 539. 

CCKXil INTRODUCTION. [chaf. ti. 

Cyprus.^ This was probably imported into Venice, 
and thence to other parts of Europe, particularly to 
Spain, where the Venetian umber was sold under the 
name of sombra di Venezia.* 

Besides its use in painting as a shadow colour both 
in flesh' and yellow draperies* and for all colours 
lighter than itself,* it was sometimes boiled with oil 
as a drier both for painting and mordants/ It was 
also occasionally added to grounds,'' but for this purpose 
it was not generally approved.* Umber was some- 
times called falzalo by the Italians.' Mixed with fine 
lake, it was used as a glazing colour for shadows. 

Cologne earth, a bituminous earth, which, although a 
powerful colour, has the disadvantage of fading and of 
drying very slowly. The former, according to Merimfee, 
is prevented by mixing it with very durable pigments, 
the latter can only be remedied by the addition of a 
drier to the oil. This pigment does not appear to have 
been known to Lomazzo, Borghini, or the early Italian 
writers. Neither does the name occur in any of the 
treatises in this work, nor in the ' Principes de Pein- 
ture ' of F^libien, nor the * Elfemens de Peinture ' of 
De Piles. It seems to have been used principally by 
the Flemish and Dutch painters.^^ It is, however, 
stated to have been employed by the Venetian painters, 
but this appears to require confirmation. 

When terra verde is burnt over a slow fire,^^ and the 
heat gradually increased until the pigment is roasted, it 
is converted into a fine warm brown, which was used, 
mixed with other colours, by the Italians for the sha- 
dows of flesh.** Modern writers do not mention this 

* Merim6e, p. 206. ^ Palomino, vol. ii. pp. 62, 149. 

9 Pp. 650, 654. Malvasia, Fels. Pitt, vol. ii. p. 448. Palomino, 
vol. ii. pp. 62 — 64. Lomazzo, Trattato, pp. 191,312. 

^ Palomino, vol. ii. p. 66. ^ Lomazzo, Trattato, p. 197. 

« Borghini, p. 176. Paduan MS., p. 740. ? Volpato, pp. 730, 746, n. 

8 P. 813. Merimde, p. 206. » Lomazzo, Trattato, p. 191. 

»o Mr. Eastlake's » Materials,' &c., p. 462. ^ P. 746. 

i« P. 650. Lomazzo, Trattato, p. 191. 


colour, but the use of it has been revived by an emi- 
nent English artist, under the name of " Verona 

Asphaltum, Biiume GiudaicOj Nero di Spalto. — 
Several kinds of asphaltum are used in the arts. The 
best is considered to be the Egyptian. This will dis- 
solve neither in oil, water, nor turpentine, but it must 
be fused, and then mixed with linseed oil.^ There is 
little doubt from the descriptions of Borghini* and 
Baldinucci,^ that the old masters used the Egyptian 
asphaltum, since they mention that it was brought from 
the Lake of Sodom. Other kinds of asphaltum are 
brought from China, France, Neufchatel, and Naples. 
That brought from Naples is reputed to be next in 
goodness to the Egyptian. It will dissolve in oil, but 
never yields that intense black to the same quantity of 
oil as the real Egyptian. This is probably the kind 
now employed by the Italians, who dissolve it in oil, 
spirit of turpentine, and Venice turpentine. It is not 
always easy to procure genuine asphaltum. Watin 
remarks ^ tiiat it was frequently adulterated with pitch, 
and that what is generally sold for asphaltum in Hol- 
land is nothing but the residuum left after the distilla- 
tion of oil of amber. Mr. Wilson Neil states that 
a similar kind of factitious asphaltum is now made in 
London, which is not inferior to the best Egyptian. 
This consists of the residuum left from burning linseed- 
oil and resin. The mixture of resin with asphaltum 
may be detected by spirit of wine, which dissolves the 
resin, but not the asphaltum.^ 

Lomazzo says ' that it was used to give brightness to 
light and chesnut hair. Boschini states'' that it was 
much employed by Andrea Schiavone, who used it in 

1 Wilson Neil on the Manufacture of Varnishes, Trans. Soc. Arts, vol. 
xlix. p. 67. » Riposo, p. 164. » Voc. Dis. 

^ L'Art du Vemisseur, p. 216. ^ Marcuoci, Saggio, &c., p. 95. 

^ Trattato, p. 198. ? Ricche Minere. 


glazing the shades of the flesh in undraped figures^ — 

that Giacomo Bassano (il Vecchio) employed it mixed 

I with lake in the ultimate retouchings, and that he 

^ glazed with this colour all the shadows indifferently, 

whether of flesh, or drapery, or other things. In the 
Paduan MS. it is stated to be used for the shadows of 
•flesh mixed with umber and burnt terra verde.^ 

Palomino^ classes asphaJtum among the useless 
colours, and says its place may be supplied with bone 
black, mixed with fine carmine and ancorca ; that it is 
a bad drier, and requires the addition of a mordant to 
make it dry : he adds, that there is no doubt it was 
used by the great colourists, especially in Seville and 
Granada, although one may do miracles without it. 
Volpato directs * that it should be mixed with boiled 
oil and verdigris to make it dry. 

The evidence of a modern Italian writer* and of 
several restorers of pictures is decidedly in favour of its 
having been used as a glazing colour only ; according 
to the latter it was dissolved in oil or spirit of turpen- 
tine, and applied, like other glazing colours, with the 
hand, which insured its being thinly and evenly spread. 
But even as a glazing colour, it grew darker in time,* 
and the obscurity, so frequently observed and regretted, 
of many Italian pictures, is attributed to the excessive 
use of asphaltum. The fact that the Neapolitan as- 
phaltum does not yield so intense a black to the same 
quantity of oil as the Egyptian, with its known property 
of darkening with age on paintings, would seem to 
suggest the propriety of ushig the Egyptian asphaltum, 
which being intensely black at first, would probably be 
less likely to increase in colour. Its extreme blackness 
would at least cause it to be employed sparingly and 
very thinly as a shadow colour. 

1 p. 650. 2 Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 63. s p. 747. 

-• Marciicci, pp. 95, 208. » Bald., Voc. Dis. 


Marcucci describes a liquid preparation of asphaltum 
composed in the following manner : one part of Venice 
turpentine and one and a half part of spirit of turpen- 
tine are put into a bottle which is to be placed in a 
sand-bath to liquefy ; two parts of asphaltum are then 
to be added in powder, and the whole is to be stirred 
and left over the fire until it boils. When it has boiled 
for one hour, it is to be removed from the fire, and 
before it cools a little nut-oil is to be added to give it a 
proper consistence, and when it is used a small quantity 
of mastic varnish and some kind of drier are to be 
added. This, he says, is an excellent colour for glaz- 
ing, but it must be used sparingly, as it deepens its 
colour with age. 

Mummy is by some * considered to be the same as 
asphaltum, but Marcucci ^ states that the colour of the 
former is warmer, and the smell more aromatic, and 
that its external character is diflerent. He remarks 
that it is a fine colour for glazing oil-paintings, espe- 
cially in the carnations ; it is ground with nut-oil, and 
is used with varnish and a drier. 

Black Pigments, 

The principal black pigments were terra nefa, coal, 
terra nera di Campana, nero di schiuma di ferro, and 
charcoal of various kinds; namely, burnt ivory and 
bones, oak and vine branches, stones of peaches, shells 
of almonds, paper, smoke of resin, and of nut-oil. 

Terra nera^ which may certainly be considered sy- 
nonymous with terre noire, is identified by De Mayerne 
with " crayon noir^ or " black chalked ' The Italians 
procured terra nera from several places. Cennini* 
mentions a black stone brought from Piedmont, used 
for drawing and painting, which he describes as soft 
and unctuous. Later Italian writers mention terra 

1 Palomino, yoI. ii. p. 53. ^ Saggio, &c., p. 95. 

s Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials/ &c., p. 466. < Cap. 34. 

VOL. I. y> 

CCXXvi INTRODUCTION. [cha^. ti. 

nera di Roma and terra nera di Venezia; the latter 
was procured., from Verona. Borghini says * that aero 
di terra is a native unctuous pigment, which may be 
used in fresco, oil, and tempera painting. The name 
of this pigment occurs in the Paduan MS.* Lomazzo * 
does not appear to distinguish it from hero di scaglia. 

A black pigment from common coal (charbon de 
terre) does not appear to be mentioned by Italian 
writers, although it is said, on the authority of Lebmn,* 
to have been much used in Italy for external painting, 
because it was more durable than any odier. Mr. 
Eastkke has shown * that it was frequently employed 
by the Flemish and Dutch painters. The tint furnished 
by coal mixed with oil is stated to be brownish. 

Terra nera di Campana is made from a certain crust 
which forms on the moulds in which bells and artillery 
are cast It is used in all three kinds of painting, but 
in a short time it fades and spoils the pictures. It is 
mentioned by Borghini,' by Baldinucci,"' and by Lo- 

Nero di Schiuma di Ferro was composed of scales of 
iron mixed with terra verde and finely ground. Bor- 
ghini, Lomazzo, and Baldinucci mention this colour. 

Ivory Black is distinguished by many writers from 
bone black. It is described as being intensely black, 
and very transparent. Lebrun remarks that if it is 
steeped in vinegar and dried in the sun, it cannot be 

Bone Black was prepared from the bones of various 
animals, but Palomino states ^ that the best kind was 
prepared from the bones of pigs, although the bones of 
stags and oxen were sometimes used. Others employed 
mutton bones. It is represented to be of a reddish 
colour, which may even be converted into brown by 

> Riposo, p. 164. « P. 650. s Trattato, p. 192. * P. 812 and n. 
^ Materials, &c., p. 467. * Riposo, p. 164. ? Yqc. Dis. 

B Trattato, p. 193. * Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 63. 


arresting the carboniasation before it is complete, and to 
dry very slowly. In grinding it with oil it is necessary 
to use more force than with any other colour, iir order 
to add with more facility the necessary quantity of fat 
or drying oil/ 

The blacks made from vegetable charcoal are not of 
so intense a black as those of ivory and bone ; * of these 
some painters preferred the black made from burnt 
vine-branches, sometimes called blue blackj^ which Bor- 
ghini says ^ is excellent for painting in oil. Other authors 
mention the charcoal of burnt oak stripped of the bark,* 
of the stones of peaches, and of the shells of almonds/ 
The black of peach stones when mixed with white has a 
blue tint. Lamp black is used in oil painting, although 
not approved of by many writers.'' It is always necessary 
to calcine it before it is used in oil painting.^ Ink, and 
especially printing-ink, was formerly made of the soot 
collected from burning resin or oil in a paper lantern. 
This is the ink of which Cennini speaks in the early 
part of his book. It was also used by Lionardo da 
Vinci • mixed with lake for the darkest shades, and Va- 
sari relates that Fra Bartolomeo wishing to imitate the 
colouring of Lionardo on a certain picture, also em- 
ployed this colour and burnt ivory, and that the picture 
had darkened much in consequence. To the same cause 
Vasari attributes the darkening of the colours in the 
* Transfiguration ' of Raphael.^® 

Another charcoal black was procured from the ashes 
of paper, burnt in a closed iron tube and afterwards 
ground with water." This black pigment is mentioned 

1 Constant de Massoul^ p. 215. * Merim^, p. 208. 

s Constant de Massoul, p. 215u 

4 RipoBO, p. 164 ; and see Cennini) Trattato,. cap..xzzvii» 
^ Palomino, toI. ii. p. 54. Borghini, p. 164. 
• Cennini, cap. 37- Borghini, p. 164. Baldinuoci, Voc. Dia. 
•^ See p. 823. « Marcucci, p. 167. Merim^e, p. 209. 

» Trattato, c. 353 ; and see Vasari, Vita di Fra Bartolomeo. 
10 Vasari, Vita di RaflSiello da Urbino. i^ Marcucci, p. 167. 

P 2 

CCXXViii INTRODUCTION. [cbap. ▼!. 

by Borghini * and by Baldinucci, and appears to be stiB 
made in Italy. Marcucci * states that he had found it 
a very good black, and that it did not deepen in colour 
like some other blacks. 

Black pigments are considered slow in drying. Vol- 
pato directs ^ that boiled oil and verdigris should be 
added to lamp-black to make it dry.* The Paduan 
MS.* recommends the addition of ground glass, which 
it is stated will make the colour dry in twenty-four 
hours. Baldinucci ^ says black earth, bone black, and 
lamp black require the addition of litharge or ground 
glass to the boiled oil. 

From the preceding account of the principal colours 
used . in painting it will be seen that, notwithstanding 
the numerous names by which pigments were known in 
different countries and at different periods, the real 
number was not in fact so great as might be at first 
imagined. This is exemplified in the various names by 
which the blue carbonate of copper and the red ores of 
iron were formerly known. 

It will also be observed that the colours lost or fidlen 
into disuse are the native mineral pigments, for which 
artificial preparations of a similar nature have been sub- 
stituted. Thus the native yellow and red orpiment 
have been superseded by the artificial pigments which 
bear these names, and which, besides the usual defects 
of artificial as compared with natural pigments, have 
the additional disadvantage of being more poisonous. 
Instead of the native giallorino, or Naples yellow, we 
have the modern pigment composed of the oxides of 
lead and antimony, known under the name of Naples 
yellow. Instead of the native carbonates of copper we 
have the artificial preparations. Native minium and 

native cinnabar have also fallen into disuse. The only 

— ^-^^^^-^^-^^^-^-^^^ - - - ■ ■ — ^^ — — — — ^ 

1 Ripo«), p. 164. « Saggio, p. 208. » P. 747. -* P. 822. 

» P. 666. « Voc. Dtf. 


exception, perhaps, besides the natural yellow and red 
ochres, is ultramarine, for which no perfect substitute, 
possessing properties in every respect equally eligible, 
has yet been discovered. With the exception of these 
natural pigments, the colours lost are of little value. 

It will be also observed that the more durable lakes 
prepared from kermes and lac have been superseded 
by the more brilliant, but less permanent, lake from 

Another source of confusion, and which has much in- 
creased the difficulty of identifying pigments, has arisen 
from giving the name of a well-known pigment to 
another which resembled it in colour, but which in 
other respects differed essentially. Among pigments 
of this description may be enumerated sandarace^ san- 
daraca, which has been used to denote red orpiment, 
red lead, and massicot ; minium^ the ancient term for 
vermilion, and the modem term for red lead ; cinnabar^ 
used to signify a red earth and vermilion; smaltOy 
smahinOy sometimes applied to a vitreous blue pigment 
coloured with smalt, sometimes to one coloured with 
copper ; indigo^ used to denote both woad and indigo ; 
arzicOj which signified both a yellow lake and a native 
ochreous pigment; verdettOj which denoted sometimes 
a native mineral green pigment, sometimes an artificial 
mineral pigment of the same colour, and sometimes a 
vegetable green pigment 

Finally, the confusion has been increased by adopting 
foreign names instead of the original term ; thus one of 
the old pigments called giallorino is now known in Italy 
under the term massicot, and the original appellation is 
almost lost. 


Of Grinding and Dilviing the Colours. 

The universal testimony of* all writers who have 
treated on the tedinical part of painting establishes the 
fact that lihe colours (excepting some which were kept 
in powder) were ground in oil.^ Vasari, Armeoini, 
Bisagno, Borghiiri, and Gasparo Colorabino * give the 
preference to nut-oil, which, it is stated, is less apt to 
become yellow- Bor^ini says,' " Let him who would 
paint in oil on panel . . . • colour it with colours tern- 
pered with nut-oil only, and nothing else '* {senza piu), 
Volpato directs * that white lead should be ground with 
nut-oil ; verde eterno, indigo, and all other blues, char- 
coal, and other colours with linseed oil. The Marciana 
MS. also directs * that all the colours were to be ground 
with oQ as stiffly as possible, that is. with very litde oil. 
and that they were to be ground so fiaely that on being 
felt with the fingers no hard grains could be perceived. 
This is in accordance with the old Italias practice^ as 
described by Cennim, who repeatedly inculcates the 
perfect levigation of the colours ; and with the example 
of Michael Angelo, who is said to have ground his own 
colours,* and also with the practice of the Flemish 
school.'' But it appears that the later Italians, and 
especially the Venetians, did not consider this point of 
importance as far as regards the under colours. If 
there were any doubt of the colours of the Venetians 
being coarsely ground, it would be sufficiently proved 
by the assertion of a professor of painting at Venice 
that he had with his penknife picked out of Venetian 

1 F61ibien, Principes, &o., p. 296. Balengerns, De Pictura, &c Bald., 
Voc. Dis. Lebrun, p. 771. 

^ Discorso del Disegno, &c. Padova, 1623. 

8 Riposo, p. 138. * P. 739. • P. 627. 

^ See Lanzi, Storia Pittoriea, yoI. i. p. 114. 

7 << Lga peintres Flamands ne prennent que la cr§me des coidenrs, apr^ 
les avoir d^Iaydes et noy^es dans une grande quantity d*eau.'' — Tnat6 de la 
Peinture au Pastel, &c. 


pictures of the best period grains of colour sufficiently 
large to have them analysed. 

The recommendation in the Marciana MS. before 
mentioned to grind the colours with as little oil as pos- 
sible is insisted upon by most writers on art.^ Borghini 
gives ' as a reason for this practice that the oil in drying 
would become dark '(nero). Again, he remarks, **If 
the colours are made liquid with too much oil, it lessens 
considerably their brilliancy." The use of too much 
oil is frequently condemned by Malvasia ' and by Lanzi. 
The latter attributes ^ to this cause the ruin of so many 
paintings by the Carracci, by Lo Spagnuolo, and by 
Fasignano. Armenini also concurs in stating that oil 
renders the colours dark. 

After directing how the colours are to be ground the 
Marciana MS. continues, " Also, while you are painting, 
if you find the colours too stiff, dip your pencil into a 
little oil and stir it well into the colour." The same 
MS. also directs that the " vernice comune," which 
might be mixed with colours, was, when too thick, to 
be diluted with oil. It may be considered certain, then, 
that during the first half of the sixteenth century it was 
the practice in Italy to dilute the colours with nut or 
linseed oil, and not witJi an essential oil. The anecdote 
related by Kidolfi, who wrote a century later than this 
MS-, proves that this practice was preserved, tradition- 
ally at least, in his time. But although this may have 
been the general practice, it by no means follows that 
all colours were thus diluted ; and the specification that 
certain colours were to be made to flow by dipping the 
brush in an essential oil, is at once an admission that it 
was the general custom to use linseed or nut oil for this 
purpose, and dso that these oils were not equally adapted 

1 F^libien, Principes, &c.,p. 298. Requenos, Saggio, &c., vol. i. p. 163. 
Verri, Saggio Elementare, &c., p. 116. Marcncci, Saggio, &c., p. 201. 
» RipoBO, p. 176. « Fels. Pitt., vol. ii. p. 460, 

4 Storia Pittorica, vol. v. pp. 70, 161 ; vol. i. p. 196. 


for all colours. Thus Volpato observes ' that painters 
were accustomed to make Spanish blue flow by dippiog 
their brushes in spirit of turpentine, and ultramariDc 
with naphtha. Facheco, whose whites and blues were 
the admiration of Cespedes, and of those Italian painters 
who had seen them, relates* that he dipped his brush in 
oil of spike when painting to make the colours flow. 
It appears, however, that 'the practice of diluting the 
colours with naphtha was sometimes carried to excess 
by the Bolognese painters; this was the case with 
Flaminio Torre, the irrecoverable decay of whose pic- 
tures is attributed by Malvasia' and Lanzi^ to the 
constant use of naphtha. F^libien,^ who appears to 
have been well acquainted with the Italian practice, 
remarks that " those who wish their pictures to remain 
fresh use as little oil as possible, and keep their ooloors 
firmer by mixing a little oil of spike with them ; this 
soon evaporates, but it makes the colours flow and work 
more easily.'' From a passage in the Brussels MS.* it 
may be concluded that oil of chamomile was sometimes 
used for the same purpose. 

On the Purification and Bleaching of Oil. 

There appears to be no doubt that oil was always 
purified and bleached before the colours were ground 
with it. It is, however, somewhat extraordinary that 
neither Armenini, Vasari, Borghini, nor Bisagno allude 
to this fact. The precautions taken by Lionardo da 
Vinci' for the preparation of his oils are, however, well 
known, and incidental allusions to the purification of 
oil may also be found in Vasari * and other authors. 
The remark of the Gesuato, at the end of his directions 

1 P. 749. « Tratado, p. 392. s Fels. Pitt, vol ii. p. 460. 

* Storia Pittorica, vol. v. p. 105. * Principes, &c , p. 297. « P. 814. 
"^ Ainoretti, Memorie Storiche, &c., di Lionardo da Vinci, p. 149. 

* See account of GioTan Francesco Caroti, in the Life of Fra Giocoado. 


for purifying oil — " Observe that, whenever you find 
oil mentioned, this purified oil is meant" — may be con- 
sidered proof of the importance attached to this fact. 
The recipe of the Gesuato forms part of the directions 
for preparing ultramarine,^ and the oil was used in 
making the resinous pastille into which the powdered 
ultramarine was kneaded, and the colour worked out 
into the water. If it was necessary to employ purified 
oil for this purpose, it was much more important to 
procure such an oil to mix with colours. 

The Marciana MS. directs' that purified oil should 
be used for mordants, and at the end of the recipe gives 
the following directions for purifying it: — " Boil it 
over the fire with water for three or four hours, then let 
it settle, and separate it from the water." In another 
recipe it is said," — " Take linseed-oil, boiled in the 
usual way ;" from which it appears that the method just 
described was that which was usually adopted. In the 
same MS. it is remarked,^ that if the nut or linseed- 
oil is inspissated by exposure to the sun, the varnish 
made with it will be clearer. 

Palomino states'^ that all colours were generally 
ground with linseed-oil, because it was more drying 
than nut-oil, which was reserved solely for the blues 
and whites in finishing, and especially for ultramarine ; 
" but," he adds, " if nut-oil cannot be obtained, linseed- 
oil may be clarified by putting it into a vessel with 
white-lead in powder, stirring it well until it is quite 
white, and exposing it to the sun and dew, stirring it 
up every day, for three days, then let it be used, 
because if it is kept longer, it will become fat. Pacheco's 
method of preparing bleached linseed-oil, which might 
be used with white and blue, was as follows :* — " Take 
a glass vessel, and to one pound of limpid and clear 

1 Secret! di Don Alessio, parte ii. f. 62 ; and aee Mr. Eastlake's < Mate* 
riak,' p. 827. « P. 621. » Ibid. 

«P. 636. • <^ Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 56. « Tratado, p. 393. 


linseed-oil, add three ounces of spirit of wine, and two 
ounces of lavender flowers, place it in the sun for fifteen 
days, shaking it twice every day, and in this maimer it 
will be purified and clear. Then pouring it into another 
vessel, it may be used for whites, blues, and flesh tints.** 
Some time since I tried this recipe, and found that in 
proportion as the oil lost its colour, the spirit of wine 
acquired it, and the mucilage separating, was carried to 
the bottom of the bottle with the lavender flowers. 
The yellow colour of the spirit of wine may, perhaps, 
be accounted for by the fact, that a small quantity of 
linseed oil is soluble in spirit of wine; four ounce 
measures of spirit of wine dissolve one drachm of 

Joannes Zahn recommends* the following process for 
the clarification and bleaching of oil for painting: — 
" Take the acetous herb, whidb in German is called 
* Sauerampffer ' (sorrel), cut it into tolerably sized 
pieces, and boil it in water over die fire ; then strain it 
through a linen cloth, put it into a tin vessel, or into a 
vase made of iron, tinned, whidh must be prepared so 
as to be long and broad, but not deep. This being 
done, pour on to this water the oil which is to be clari- 
fied and bleached, and then put t^e vase, with the water 
and supernatant oil, into a place fi*ee from dust, and 
exposed to the hottest rays of tihe sun in summer for a 
few days ; in a short time the oil will deposit all its 
impurities, and be wonderfiiUy clarified and bleached 
by this process, in the same manner as wax and linen 
are bleached. The oil thus prepared may be used by 
painters, not only for making their colours more lively, 
but also for the preparation of the clearer and more 
brilliant varnishes." This method of purifying linseed- 
oil I have also tried, and found it very successfiil in 
removing the mucilage, which is thrown down in a few 

1 Henry's CbemUtry, vol. ii. p, 226. > Ocolus Artiflcialis, p. ^5. 


days, and the oil remains very clear and bright, and of 
a golden colour: it may afterwards be bleached by 
exposure to the sun. 

The purification and preparation of oil for painting, 
by exposure to heat and washing with water, has been 
so fully treated by Mr. Eastlake, that it will be unneces- 
sary to cite the authorities or repeat the processes he 
has described. It may, however, be interesting to 
state, that I have bleached and clarified linseed-oil by 
the following process, suggested by tlie directions of the 
Gesuato ^ and those of Dreme.^ A bottle was fiHed, 
about one fiiird with oil, another third with water ; it 
was then corked and shaken, until the water and oil 
were mixed like an emulsion, when the cork was 
removed, and a piece of muslin tied over the bottle, 
which was placed on the boiler of a kitchen-range,' and 
kept in a moderate heat day and night. The oil was 
shaken every day (the muslin being first removed and 
the cork inserted in the bottle) for a few days, and then 
suffered to clear. In about a week the oil was removed 
from the water into another bottle, and the process was 
repeated for several weeks until the water below the oil 
ceased to appear milky, and the oil itself was clear and 
colourless. During tliis experiment I observed that the 
mucilage was thrown down sooner if warm water was 
added to the oil instead of cold, and that the oil 
separated more rapidly from the water when the bottle 
was exposed to a gentle and regular lieat, although in a 
dark situation, than when dt was placed in the variable 
warmth of a sunny window. The addition of salt or 
sand accelerates the clarification df the oil. Many 
weeks are necessary to complete the process of bleach- 
ing and purification. If the oil is intended to remain 
fluid, it should be preserved in bottles well stopped.* 

^ See * Materials,^ &c., p. 327. ^ Der Virniss-u Kittmachcr, &c. 

8 Dreme recommends that the bottle -ehould be suspended in an oven 
moderately heated. < See Mr. Eastlake*8^ Materiidf/ &e., p. 341. 


ccxxxvi INTRODUCTION. [chaf. tx. 

The purification of oil will always be attended with 
much waste. It may be considered that, with the 
greatest care, nearly half will be lost in the process. 
The mucilage alone frequently forms one-third of the ofl. 

Dryers and Drying Oils. 

The necessity of the colours drying quickly, and die 
circumstance of some drying more rapidly than others, 
led to the addition of other ingredients to the oil. 

The following observations will be limited to the 
drying ingredients mentioned in the Treatises contained 
in this work, and to those adopted by the Italian and 
Spanish painters* 

The earliest notice of drying oil which occurs in the 
following works is to be found in the MS. of Eraclius.^ 
In this recipe the oil was boiled with lime,' and ceruse 
being then added, it was placed in the sun for a month 
or more, and frequently stirred. The use of white-lead 
as a dryer has been continued to the present day. It 
was sometimes stirred into the oil, which was then 
exposed to the sun and dew, and well stirred every day 
for three days, when it was ready for use.^ If suffered 
to remain longer than the time specified, it would 
become fat. By some modem Italian artists white-lead 

1 P. 282. 

s The most powerful of all diyera is perhaps chloride of lime in a dry 
state : a small quantity of this added to clarified oil will convert it into a 
solid ; for this reason it must be employed very cautiously. If too much 
be used, it may bum the brushes, and injure the colours. It has the ad- 
vantage of not darkening the oil, and its drying property appears to arise 
from its absorbing the watery particles of the oil. Chloride of calcium is 
equally efficacious as a dryer ; but the small quantity of iron which it con- 
tains dissolves in the oil, and darkens it It seems probable that if i}» 
chloride of lime were judiciously employed, it might prove serviceable 
as a dryer ; but as I am not aware that it has been tried as such by any 
person but myself, the utmost caution would be required, and some expe- 
riments would be necessary in order to ascertain the smallest possible 
quantity which would answer the purpose intended. As a dryer for house 
paint it may perhaps be found useful. 

' Palomino, vol. ii. p. 55. 


IS placed on a strainer, and the oil is suffered to filter 
through it, when it is ready for use. 

The preparation of oil for painting is not mentioned 
in the Bolognese MS.; but in two of the recipes for 
making " vernice liquida " directions are given for 
rendering the oil dryinig previous to the addition of the 
resin. In No. 207,* the oil is directed to be boiled 
with burnt roche alum in powder, and minium or ver- 
milion ; and after boiling a proper time it is to be set 
fire to, and allowed to burn for a short time, when it is 
to be extinguished, and again placed over the fire and 
burnt as before. 

This is, probably, the only recipe for drying oil in 
which vermilion is mentioned ; but as that pigment is 
not known to possess any peculiarly siccative properties, 
it may be supposed that it was considered by the writer 
as synonymous with minium (the cinnabar of the 
ancients), the term applied to red-lead during the middle 
ages throughout Europe, and from that time to the 
present in Italy. 

The burning of the oil, recommended in this recipe, 
was for the purpose of depriving it of its unctuosity, 
and with this view it is still resorted to by the makers 
of printing ink. 

In the recipe No. 262, in the Bolognese MS.,* 2 lbs. 
of common oil, that is, olive-oil, and 2 lbs. of linseed- 
oil are boiled with 30 or 40 cloves of garlic, until, 
on dipping a hen's feather into the oil, it is found to 
be burnt. This trial with the feather is still the common 
test of the oil's being sufficiently boiled. The use of 
the garlic was probably to supply moisture to the oil, 
and thus prevent its carbonization. Garlic is mentioned 
as an ingredient in drying oil or fat oil by Pacheco 
and Palomino; and according to the former the oil 
was boiled until the garlic was burnt or toasted.' 

1 P. 489. « P. 621. « Tratado, p. 404. 


Garlic yields a gelatinous juice, which does not appear 
to be miscible with oil. Paeheco also mentions as dryers, 
minium and white lead, which if added to oil^ and 
placed in a glass vessel in the sun in summer, for 
fifteen days, stirring it every day, and then straining it, 
would be very good. 

According to Lebrun,* drying oil was prepared by 
suspending a piece of rag containing umber and minium 
in a vessel with nut-oil, and boiling it The mordants 
described in the Faduan MS.,' and in the * Riposo' of 
Borghini (p. 176), greatly resemble this drying oil. 
In the first, ochre is added to the other ingredients ; in 
the second, giallorino, calcined bones, and burnt vitriol ; 
which Borghini says is to be ^^ calcined in the fire until it 
is red ; and this vitriol makes all colours which are natu- 
rally bad dryers siccative, although it discolours them."' 

Besides white-lead and minium, litliai^e, the semi- 
vitrified oxide of lead, was employed as a dryer for oil. 
Volpato gives* directions for preparing oUo cottOj by 
boiling it on litharge, but he does not specify the propor- 
tion of litharge. The Jesuit, Father Lana,^ recom- 
mends, for this purpose, two ounces of litharge for each 
{)ound of oil. Lebrun calls* this preparation "huile 
grasse," fat oil, which he distinguishes from drying oU. 

Lebrun also remarks, that the litharge might be 
ground on the porphyry with oil, made into a little ball 
and dried When required for use it was to be boiled 
until the litharge was dissolved, and, when cold, the oil 
was said to become as clear as rock-water. This oil 
was considered very good as a siccative for diose colours 
which did not dry well, such as lakes, black,^ &c. 
When used for painting on glass, the proportion of 
litharge was much increased t thus the Paduan MS.^ 

I P. 816. « P. 692. 

3 Burnt vitriol is sulphate of iron calcined. Iron is to a certain extent 
soluble in oil, which it renders dark. < P. 741. & P. 746, n. 

« P. 816. ^ P. 818. 8 P. 692. 


prescribes half a pound of this ingredient to a pound of 
oil ; but for pictures this cannot be recommended. The 
recipe for " olio cotto," given by Fra Fortunato, differs 
from these recipes in directing the addition of water, 
which is to be boiled with the litharge and oil, which 
he says will cause the oil to become as clear (colourless) 
as water itself.* 

In the appendix to the Italian edition of * L'Idfee du 
Peintre Parfait ' of De Piles, drying oil is described as 
coniposed of nut-oil boiled with litharge and sandarac. 
This composition is in fact identical with the old " ver- 
nice liquida.*' It differs but little from the mordant of 
Cennini,* which consisted of linseed oil, vernice (dry 
sandarac), and white lead. In the former, the dryer 
was litharge ; in the latter, white lead. 

In the time of Baldinucci, olio cotto was prepared by 
boiling linseed or nut-oil, either alone, or with litharge 
or glass, finely ground with water. It is stated by this 
author to have been used to temper those colours which 
are slow in drying, such as lake, terra nera, bone, and 
other blacks, because both litharge and ground glass 
have the property of making them dry quickly. Oil, 
boiled without either of these ingredients, was used to 
accelerate the drying of those colours, which dry well 
of themselves, such as white lead, minium, terra verde, 
umber, cinnabar, smalti, and others ; but if used with 
white lead it would become yellow. " Pure boiled oil,** 
continues Baldinucci, " when it is prepared with very 
clear oil, is also used by painters instead of varnish in 
the darkest shades, and wh^ire the colours have sunk in. 
And remember, that raw nut and linseed oil are by 
nature drying, but they do not dry so soon as when 

1 " Per far 1* olio cotto da Pittore, che sia chiaro, come acqua. Metti il 
solito piumazzolo col lifargirio, et altro come si usa dentro I' oglio di noce, o 
di lino, a bollire, e con esso mettin seco dell' acqua a boUire, che questa la 
fara rimaner chiaro, come V acqua medeaima." 

s TratUto, cap. 151. 



boiled, and especially as when mixed with ground gla^ 
and litharge/' ^ 

Volpato also recommends * that " olio cotto " and 
verdigris should be mixed with asphaltum and black to 
make them dry. 

An eminent professor of painting at Venice stated 
that Chilone, an old Venetian painter, who died about 
the year 1834 or 1836, was acquainted with Canal' 
and Canaletto,^ and that Chilone said these two artists 
used oil boiled on litharge, which they recommended 
him to use also, and that they frequently spread it over 
the whole picture. 

It appears certain then from the above evidence, tliat 
the preparations of lead were the dryers most approved 
in Italy, but it may be collected from an expression of 
Padre Lana's that some doubts had been raised as to 
their eligibility for this purpose. Speaking of oil boiled 
on litharge, Lana says, ^^This application is not so in* 
jurious as some persons have imagined ; and the advan- 
tage is, that it dries quickly, for raw oil is a long time 
in drying." There can be no doubt, however, tibat 
litharge is injurious to those colours which are incom- 
patible with lead, such as Indian lake and orpiment 

The mixture of ground glass with colours as a dryer 
is not, that I am aware of, mentioned in Italian works 
written earlier than the seventeenth century : the Faduan 
MS.* and Baldinucci's * Vocabulary of Design ' appear 
to be the only Italian authorities for it, although it 
may have been common at the time these works 
were written. The practice probably originated in the 
ancient custom of mixing pulverised glass with orpi- 
ment, with the object, as some authors say, of making 
it grind more easily; others say, of making it dry 

1 Vocabolario del Disegno. » P. 747. 

s Fabio Canal was bom in 1703, and died in 1767. 
^ The real name of Canaletto was Antonio Canal. He died in 1768, 
aged 71. »P.666. 


better. For the latter purpose it was employed by 
Pacheco, who remarks * that When orpiment was ground 
with linseed oil, it required a dryer, and that some 
persons added to it glass ground with water; others 
added linseed oil which has been suffered to fatten by 
mixing with it red lead in powder. Others, he adds, 
use a proper quantity of white copperas in powder ; but 
he warns his readers to beware of verdigris, which is its 
greatest enemy. Pacheco also recommends,* as a dryer 
for carmine, either ground glass or litharge in powder, 
OP a little of the fat oil (with minium) before mentioned, 
or white copperas tempered with oil, or added in pow- 

Ground glass appears to have been a favourite dryer 
with Palomino, who says * that it was excellent for all 
colours, and that it might be ground with nut or linseed 
oil like one of the colours, and preserved in a bladder, 
and a little put on the palette when necessary. This 
author describes* a drying oil for blues and whites, 
composed of ground glass, litharge, white lead, and red 
lead, of each one ounce, and half a pound of oil, boiled 
for a short time together in a water bath. Ground 
glass also forms one of the ingredients in a recipe 
given by the same author for drying oil, which, from 
being boiled longer, appears to have been of a darker 

The mixture of pulverized glass with colours is scarcely 
to be recommended, because a part of the alkali, which 
is free, is liable to be acted on by the air and other 
causes.^ That the alkali is free, may be ascertained by 
merely boiling some powdered glass in water ; on dip- 
ping turmeric paper into the water, the paper will be 
found to have acquired a brown stain. The ill effects 

1 Tratado, p. 388. > Ibid., p. 390. 

s Vol. ii. p. 56. * Vol. ii. p. 65. 

s Sec an article in the Magazine of Science, vol. iv. p. 67, " On the action 
of water on powdered glass.*' 

VOL. I. q 

ecxlii INTRODUCTION. Icbab. ti. 

liable to ensue from the presence of salts in pictures 
have been described by Mr. Smith in the First Report 
of the Commissioners of the«Fine Arts: they are also 
alluded to by De Piles/ by Lanzi^ in a note on Cor- 
reggio's method of painting, and by Mr. Eastlake.' 
The glass made in Venice contained lead ; when this 
glass was ground and mixed with colours, the lead 
probably acted on the oil as a dryer, and would affect 
the colours in the same way as other preparaticms of 
lead. In this point of view, therefore, glass can scarcely 
be an eligible dryer for orpiment^ which is decomposed 
by lead. Manganese was another ingredient in Italian 
glass; but as the native oxide of manganese is not 
found pure, but is contaminated with iron, lead, and 
copper, it may be conjectured that these metals formed 
part of the glass. The manganese of Piedmont was 
considered by Neri to be purer than that of Tus- 
cany and Liguria; the latter contained much iron, 
which gave the glass a dark hue, but it is still probaUe 
that the manganese of Piedmont contained the other 
metals, which cannot be a desirable addition to colours^ 
especially as oils are known to act on copper and iron. 
If pounded glass has really any drying property (and it 
must be supposed that it was not classed among dryers 
without due consideration), this property may be attri- 
buted to the metals it contains, which are in the state 
of oxides. 

There is good reason to suppose that white copperas 
(sulphate of zinc), which is mentioned as a dryer by 
Flemish and German writers of the fifteenth century, 
was the dryer of Van Eyck. We owe this discovery 
to the research of Mr, Eastlake.^ 

With the exception of Padre Vincente Coronelli, 
white copperas does not appear to be mentioned by any 

^ El^roens, p. 141 . > Vol. iv. p. 7 1 , n. > Materials, &c., p. 424, n. 
« See Materials, &c., p. 130, 136, 284, 299, 311, 366-367. 


Italian author as an ingredient in drying oil ; but it 
was employed in Italy in the composition of a mordant 
for painting on glass by a Venetian friar, ^ about 150 
years previous to the date of Coronelli's work. This 
mordant is described in the Marciana MS.:* it con- 
sisted of white copperas, mastic, dry sandarac, and 
roche-alum, ground in purified linseed oil. As a mor- 
dant for gold, the effects of this composition could not 
have been very durable, since it is recommended that 
vessels on which it was applied should be washed with 
cold water only, and rubbed or wiped very gently. 
Copperas is mentioned as an ingredient in a mordant 
for gilding, and as a dryer, by Pacheco,^ who recom- 
mends it for orpiment and carmine ; and by Palomino,^ 
who remarks that it may be ground with oil, and placed 
on the palette like a colour : he says that burnt alum 
may be added to it, but that he has not tried this dryer. 
De Piles also states ^ that copperas ground in oil was 
used as a dryer for lake and ultramarine, but he ex- 
presses a doubt whether, on account of its being a salt, 
it may not, in drying, cover the picture with a white 
efflorescence, especially in damp situations. There can 
be little doubt that the objection of De Piles was well 
founded. It has been already observed that the intro- 
duction of any salt into the colours must always be 
prejudicial, and there seems no reason to make an 
exception in favour of sulphate of zinc. The same 
objection does not apply to the addition of this substance 
to drying-oil : on the contrary, there is reason to believe 
that calcined sulphate of zinc and the oxide of zinc are 
the safest of all metallic dryers.* 

- - ■ — ■ — ■ — - — — ' —" — ■ 

1 It is very probable, as was suggested to me by a friend, that this ** fra- 
tre Veneziano " was Fra Sebastian del Piombo, wl)o was a native of Venice. 
If this be the fact, it affords additional reason for considering that copperas 
was the dryer of Van £yck, inasmuch as Fra Sebastian was the pupil of 
Gian Bellino, who was contemporary with Antonello da Messina. 

» P. 621. 3 Tratado, p. 388, 890, 418. * Vol. ii. p. 66. 

ft El^mens, p. 140. • See Mr. Eastlake's < Materials,' &c., p. 349. 


CCxliv INTRODUCTION. [chap. vr. 

Verdigris is one of the most powerful dryers^ and 
its effects have long been known. Cennini mentions * 
it as promoting the drying of mordants. Armenini, 
and his copyist Bisagno, and De Piles,* recommend its 
being added to black, Volpato ' to black and asphaltum, 
and Palomino * to black and carmine. But its drying 
properties appear to be more than counterbalanced by 
others which are highly injurious to many pigments, 
and cautions may be found in several writers against 
the injudicious use of it. De Piles * remarks that it is 
the plague of all the colours, and that if the smaUest 
particle were to be mixed with the priming, it might 
destroy the whole picture. 

There is another dryer mentioned by Italian writ^ns 
which can only be used in dark primings or mordants : 
this is the dirty oil pressed from the brushes into a tin 
vessel kept for this purpose. Volpato says,* " this dries 
like a mordant even in winter." Lebrun remarks^ 
that this oil may be used for the dead-colouring or for 
the priming ; Borghini mentions ^ it as an ingredient in 
a mordant. 

Calcined bones, which were so much used by the 
Flemish painters, do not appear to have been employed 
to promote the drying of oil by the Italians, although 
they are mentioned as an ingredient in a mordant by 

It will be seen, therefore, from the above-mentioned 
authorities, that the dryers named in works of art as 
most commonly used in Italy, from the earliest period 
until the present time, were preparations of lead. , 

Mastic, which has always been so much used in var- 
nish, has from a very early period been considered a 
dryer. Mr. Eastlake gives **^ two instances, one of 

1 Trattato, cap. 151, 152. > Elemens, p. 125. 

3 P. 747. * Vol. ii. p. 66. f^ Eldmens, p. 124. 

« P. 732. •' P. 770. 8 Riposo, p. 176. » Ibid., p. 176. 

10 Materials, &c., p. 172, n. 


which is from the Lucca MS., the other from the Ve- 
netian MS. A solution of mastic in nut oil is recom- 
mended by Errante ^ as the only eligible dryer. This 
fact naturally leads to the consideration of the varnishes 
used with colours in Italy, and of the resins of which 
they were composed. Before entering on this subject, 
I shall ofPer a few observations on some of the essential 
oils used in painting. 

Essential Oils. 

The purity of the essential oils is not less requisite 
than that of the other materials. Mr. Eastlake ob- 
serves " that " their drying property is in proportion to , 
their rectification, and that the lasting purity of their 
tint may partly depend on the same circumstance." 

Essential oils should be kept in close vessels, *and 
excluded from light. By long exposure to air and 
light, volatile oils become thick, and darker in colour, 
and assume the appearance of resins. 

The essential oils commonly used in painting were 
naphtha, spirit or oil of turpentine, and oil of spike. 
The first of these is considered to have been employed 
in painting by the ancient Egyptians.' 

Oil of spike should be the foreign oil of lavender ; 
but what is usually sold as such is a mixture of three 
parts oil of turpentine and one part oil of spike.* 
These ingredients are sometimes rectified together. 
English oil of lavender is sold for a guinea a pound, 
while oil of spike may be purchased for twelve or 
fourteen shillings the pound. 

The naphtha, used by the Italian painters for dilut- 
ing their colours and varnishes, was a natural produc- 
tion of many parts of Italy, particularly of the territo- 
ries of Modena and Parma. It is also found in 

1 Saggio 8ui Colori, &c. > Materials, &c., p. 313. 

3 See D'Agincourt, vol. ii. p. 2. 
4 See Rennie'fl Supplement to the Pharmacopoeias. 


ccxlvi INTRODUCTION. [cmap. \-u 

Bohemia, Persia, and in Colebrooke Dale in Shrop- 
shire ; but the finest specimens are famished by Italy. 
Naphtha, like turpentine, should be rectified before it 
is used for painting or varnishes,* The naphtha of Ae 
shops is distilled from wood; but it probably diffsrs 
considerably from the native naphtha, which is used 
by chemists fi>r the purpose of keeping potassiuniy ibr 
which the wood naphtha is entirely unfit The native 
naphtha, therefore, should be procured for painting. 
It is said to be the purest and most unchangeable of the 
essential oils.* 

While mentioning essential oils, it will be proper to 
allude briefly to the volatile oil of linseed or nuts, which 
was occasionally used in diluting varnishes. 

The earliest notice of distilled linseed oil is probably 
that which occurs in the old part of the Bolognese 
MS.," (written previously to the introduction of the 
Flemish process of oil-painting into Italy,) in a recipe 
for making artificial stones for rings. It will be ob- 
served that although the distilled oil in this case was 
not used for painting, yet it is stated by the author that 
any pigment put into It will retain its colour for ever. 

Vasari's account of the singular experiments, as he 
calls them, of Lionardo da Vinci on oils and varnish, 
is not conclusive evidence that he distilled linseed and 
nut oils, or either of them ; he merely states that he 
distilled oils and herbs to make varnishes ;^ and this may 
be true with regard to the olio di trementina and olio 
di spigo, as well as to linseed and nut oil* The passage 
in Lomazzo's *Tempio della Pittura'* is rather more 
definite ; but even this is not conclusive. In speaking 
of Lionardo, he says, " della tempera, passo alF oKo, 
il quale usava di assotigliar con i lambicchi, onde ^ 

1 Verri, ^aggio, &c., p. 138. 

« Mr. Eastlake's * Materials,' &c., p. 314, » P. 607. 

4 ** Cominci6 a stUlare oli ed erbe per fare la veniice." See Life of 
Lionardo da Vinci. ^ P. 49. 


causato che quasi tutte le opere sue si sono spiccate dai 
muriy siccome fra V altre si vede nel consiglio di Fio- 
renza la mirabile battaglia, e in Milano la Cena di 
Christo in Sta. Maria delle Gratie che sono guaste per 
r imprematura che egli gli diede sotto." 

Besides the passages in Vasari and Lomazzo, which 
attribute to Lionardo the use of distilled oil, there is 
the recipe in the * Secreti * of Alessio,^ which is con- 
clusive as to the fact that linseed oil was distilled and 
used to dilute amber varnish. This recipe has been 
copied by Wecker,* by Bonanni, and by Salmon in his 
* Polygraphices.' It is stated that this varnish was to 
be applied on pictures or figures, " sopra alle figure/' 

Another notice of linseed oil, distilled with other 
ingredients, occurs in the *Nuovo Plicto/' In this 
recipe linseed oil, vernice liquida, roche-alum, nitre, 
Boman vitriol, and mastic are boiled together, and 
afterwards distilled. The water which comes over is 
said to be good for tempering colours in miniature- 
painting, and for staining or dyeing linen and other 
things. It must be kept closely corked, otherwise it 
will evaporate. 

The fact, therefore, of linseed and nut oil being used 
in painting, except for miniatures, appears to rest on 
the inconclusive testimony of Vasari and Lomazzo that 
it was used by Lionardo da Yinci ; at the same time it 
will not escape notice that both these authors, who 
were painters, and undoubtedly acquainted with the 
method practised at the time they lived, disapproved 
of the processes of Lionardo, which they evidently 
considered unusual. As a mere diluent, distilled lin- 
seed or nut oil when rectified, and no longer subject to 
crystallise at a low temperature,* may not be more 
objectionable than spirit of turpentine, oil of spike, or 

1 Part ii. p. 74. « De Sccretis, lib. xvi. p. 643. « P. 76, 77. 

4 At the temperature of 40^ of Fahrenheit distilled linseed oil is con- 
verted into a mass of needle-shaped crystals. 


ccxlviii INTRODUCTION. [cmai^. ti. 

naphtha ; but the circumstance of its being so rarely 
mentioned by writers on painting, when so many mast 
have been acquainted with it, suggests the idea that it 
was not in general use. 

Some caution is necessary in using these essential 
oils either with varnish or colours upon paint that is not 
thoroughly dry, lest they should disturb the colours,^ 
for they are all powerful solvents. Oil of spike and oil 
of turpentine are frequently used by picture cleaners 
to dissolve dirty varnishes, and they often bring away 
the glazings which have been applied with an essential 
oil varnish, as well as the varnish itself. 


Turpentine and Resin. — By turpentine, trementina, 
and terebinthina is understood Ae resinous liquid 
which flows from many kinds of trees ; when this liquid 
is hardened by the sun, or by fire, it is called resin^ 
ragia, or colophony. 

The turpentine of Dioscorides appears to have been 
what is now called Chio turpentine, the produce of 
the Pistacia terebinthus of Linnaeus ; the Terebinthina 
pistacina, Offl We have no means of ascertaining 
whether this was the turpentine mentioned in mediaeval 
MSS., for Matthioli relates * that in his time the im- 
portation of it had ceased for so long a period that the 
remembrance of it was almost lost, and the resin of the 
larch had been introduced in its place, and had usurped 
its name. This author, however, states that the real 
turpentine tree grew plentifully at Trent, and in several 
parts of Italy. He also remarks that, although this 
was the best kind of turpentine, it had only recently 
(Matthioli's work was published in 1549) been brought 
to Venice. It was first imported in the dry state, but 
it was afterwards brought in abundance liquid as it 

1 See De Piles, El^mens de Peinture, p. 167. De Massoul^ Artof Paiut- 
ing, p. 25. * Diosc., p. 126. 

CHAP. VI.] BESINS. ccxlix 

exuded from the tree. Laguna mentions ' that Venice 
was supplied with the best kind of turpentine from 
Cyprus ; but it was so much adulterated that out of one 
barrel were made twenty. When, therefore, turpen- 
tine and larch resin are both mentioned in early me- 
dieval MSS., as in the chapter de Lucide ad Liuddas in 
the Lucca MS., the turpentine may be considei'ed to 
have been of the kind mentioned by Dioscorides ; but 
where turpentine only is spoken of, the point is doubt- 
ful. At a later period, and until a few years previous 
to 1549, trementina may be understood in the works 
of Italian writers to signify the turpentine of the larch. 
In this sense, perhaps, the trementina and terebinthina 
of the Bolognese MS. (in which larch resin is not 
mentioned) are to be understood. 

Venice Tmyentine. — Matthioli states that the produce 
of the Pinus larix (larice of the Italians, mfeleze of the 
French, the larch), called turpentine of the larch and 
Venice turpentine, was formerly called ^^ laricinaJ^ 
His account of this resin is as follows : — 

" There is also extracted from the larch that liquid 
and excellent resin which is called * terebinthina ' in all 
the druggists' shops in Italy, because it superseded 
that which is extracted from the terebinthino ; for the 
merchants having ceased to import the terebinthina, the 
physicians brought into use instead of it that which is 
produced by the larch, whence it acquired the name of 
turpentine (terebinthina). Nevertheless Fuchsio, in 
his last book on the Composition of Medicines, was 
mistaken when he wrote that the apothecaries now use 
instead of the true terebinthina nothing but the liquid 
resin of the abeto (Pinus picea of Linnaeus), which we 
call tears (lagrime), for it is known to all the world 
that the common terebinthina now in use is not ex- 
tracted from any other tree but the larch The 

1 Diosc. ilustrado porel Doct. Laguna. Salamanca, 1570. 



peasants inhabiting those mountains call this liquor 
larga^ from the larch (larice), whence it exudes. ' 
This kind of tmrpentine is called " largata ** by Zuane 
Mariani,* and it appears to have been the only scwrt of 
turpentine imported into Venice in 1567.- 

The liquid resin which was sold in France under the 
name of t^rfebenthine de Venise, was procured in the 
neighbourhood of Lyons; and Pomet says* that it 
should rather be called *• tferfebenthine fine du bois de 
Pilatre ou de Lyon." The Lyonnais called it hijon ; but 
at Rouen it was called herniz. At the present time much 
of this resin is brought from the confines of Brian^on/ 

Olio di Ahezzo, Strasshurg Turpentine^ Goniine du 
Sapin. — The resin which exudes from the Terebinthina 
abietina, Off., the Pinus picea of Linnseus, the abete 
of the Italians, the sapin of the French, is the Resina 
sapini of the Lucca MS. and Clavicula (p. 54). "The 
abete produces that most excellent liquor commonly 

called tears (lagrime), or olio di abezzo It is 

frequently adulterated with the resin of the larch, 
which is not so dear as the olio di abezzo, and some- 
times when the larch resin is very clear and limpid it 
is sold for the real olio di abezzo ; for few apothecaries 

know one from the other. But the fraud mav be 


detected, first, because the olio di abezzo is much more 
liquid, and also because it has an agreeable odour, and 
is much more bitter to the taste than the larch resin ; 
and when it is more than a year old, it acquires a yel- 
lowish colour, and becomes somewhat solid.*'* The 
Marciana MS. mentions ' that genuine olio di abezsso 
may be distinguished by its drying rapidly ; but when 
it is mixed with turpentine it dries very slowly. 

1 Matthioli, p. 118. 

2 See Tariffa Perpetna di Zuane Mariani, Venetie, 1667. 

3 Histoire des Drogues, vol. ii. p. 62. 

* Diz. delle Droghe di Chevalier e Richard. Yenezia, 1881. 

» Matlhioli, p. 120. « F» 635. 

CHAP. ▼!.] RESINS. ccli 

Hesitiy Resin of the Pine^ Gomme de Pin^ Bordeaux 
Turpentine. — This is the produce of the Terebinthina 
pinea, the Pinus maritima, a variety of the Pinus syl- 
vestris, the Pinus abies of Linnseus.^ Whenever the 
vrord " ragia " occurs in Italian writers, the resin of the 
pine is always to be understood.' This resin is firmer 
and more solid than that of the larch or the abete. 
Whea this resin has been purified by melting it in the 
sun, and suffering it to run through the small holes 
perforated in the bottom of the vessel containing it, it 
is considered equal in quality to Strassburg turpen- 
tine. When it is purified by melting it over the fire, 
and straining it through straw, it is called ^^ yellow 
pitch or resin," " white pitch," and " Burgundy pitch.'* 
If the residuum left after the distillation of spirit of 
turpentine be stirred briskly with water, it loses its 
transparency, and acquires a dark yellow colour. In 
this state it is called "yellow resin or pkch."' 

Pierre Pomet states that it was called in France 
" barras," or " galipot," and that there were two kinds, 
one of which was called " encens blanc," the other 
" encens marbr6." The incense usually burnt in 
churches is the produce of the Pinus abies.^ 

Pece Greca, or Greek Pitchy Pece Spagnuola, or di 
Spagna, Pegola di Spagna, Colophony. — The signifi- 
cation of these terms cannot be better explained than 
in the words of Matthioli:* — "What is commonly 
called pece di Spagna, pece Greca, and colophonia by 
the apothecaries is nothing but resin boiled in the man- 
ner described by Dioscorides. These names were de- 
rived from the places whence they were brought. But 
there was another kind of colophonia described by 
Dioscorides, which was liquid, and which was called, 
par excellence^ colophonia. This was very scarce and 

1 Trattato delle Droghe Seraplici, da Guibourt, iii. p. 41 2. « Ricett. Fior. 

3 Trattato deUe Droghe, da Guibourt, p. 415. 
* Humboldt's Koemos, ii. 441. » Trans, of Diosc, p. 126. 


cclii INTRODUCTION. [cbjlf. vi- 

dear." Matthioli thinks that the latter was the olio di 
abezzo, which is not mentioned either by Dioscorides or 

The hardest of all the resins is colophonia;* the 
terebinthina continues liquid a long time, and the olio 
di abezzo remains in a moderately liquid state. The 
best " pece di Spagna " was brought from the island of 
Pityusa, on the coast of Spain. 

In the Greek MS. of Mount Athos, pece Greca is 
called Pfegoula.* It appears that it was also known by 
this name in Italy. Thus Fioravanti states,' in his 
*Secreti,' "La vernice commune ^ una compositione, 
la quale si fa di olio di lino e di pece Greca, con una 
parte del olio, e tre dipegohy*' &c. 

Olibanumj Thus aUmm^ IncensOj Frankincense^ are 
synonymous terms in works on art Under the first 
name this resin appears to be included among the 
ingredients in the chapters of the Lucca MS. and 
Mappsd Clavicula (p. 54, 55), entitled " De Petalo 
Aureo," and " Lucida quomodo fiant super Colores.** 
This resin is mentioned in the commercial treat>' 
between Bologna and Ferrara in 1193.* The best 
kind was formerly imported by way of Tauris (now 
Tabreez), whence it was called " Torisino.'* * The tree 
which produced the Arabian frankincense of Hadhra- 
maut, so famous from the most ancient times, has not 
yet been discovered and determined by any botanist 
There is a similar product in the East Indies, which, 
according to Colebrooke, has been obtained from the 
Boswellia thurifera, or serrata. The olibanum of our 
druggists is the produce of an American plant, the 
Icica guyanensis, of the same family (Bmrseraceae) as 
the Boswellia.* Frankincense was used by the old 

> Trans. ofDiosc., p. 127. * Manuel d'Iconographie, p. 40. 

8 Secret! di S. Leonard. Fioravanti, lib. iii. cap. 96. * Depping, i. 241. 
* See the work of Pegoletti and Uzzano, cited by Depping, i. 142. 
6 Humboldt's Kosmos, Sabine's translation, London, 1848, vol. ii. p. 440. 

CHAP. VI.] RESINS. ccliii 

painters in the composition of the pastille with which 
ultramarine was mixed, as well as in varnishes;^ and 
we learn from the Bolognese MS.* that when it was 
dissolved in linseed-oil^ the composition was sometimes 
called " vernice liquida." From the scarcity of ori- 
ental olibanum, it was frequently adulterated with gum 
and resin. The resin held in most esteem in the East 
for burning as incense was, according to Agricola,* 
amber ; but it is probable that for amber we should read 
oriental copaL* 

Sandarac. — This resin is brought from the southern 
provinces of Morocco. In the language of the country 
it is called " el Grassa ;" * and by this name it has 
always been known in Spain. Thus Pacheco says, 

" Grassa which is the gum of the juniper, 

which the Arabs call sandarac."' Palomino mentions 
this resin under the name " grasilla." It was generally 
believed that sandarac was the gum of the juniper, and 
as such it is described by Matthioli, Laguna,^ Bulen- 
gerus,* and other writers ; but it is now known to exude 
from the Thuya articulata (African arbor vitae), a 
dwarf tree somewhat resembling the juniper.* In its 
dry state, sandarac was called vernix, vernice grossa,^® 
vernice in grana,^* vernice da scrivere.^* The last name 
was derived from the pulverized sandarac being formerly 
rubbed over cotton paper to prepare it for writing. 

I Pp. 166, 630. » P. 489. » De Metallicis, p. 243. 

* See Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. v. part iv. 
^ Encyc. Brit., tit. Sandarac. 

* " Grassa, que es la goma del eneproque los Arabes llaman Saodaraca." 
Tratado, 410. 

"^ Diosc. iltjstr. por el Doct. Laguna, p. 62. ^ De Pictura, &c. 

» Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials,' &c., p. 232. 

10 Borghini (Ripoao, p. 175) sajs ^^ sandaraca ovvero vernice grossa." 

II *^ Vernice di sandaraca o vernice in grana,'' Secreti di S. Leonard. 
Fioravanti, Torino, 1580, lib. iii. cap. 68. Marciana MS., pp. 609, 621, 631. 

IS u Veroioe dascrivere, cio^ sandracha, ciod gomma di ginepro." Secreti 
di D. Alessio, part ii. f. 57. 


ccliv INTRODUCTION. [chap. ti. 

When sandarac was dissolved in linseed-oil, it consti- 
tuted the " vernice liquida " of the Italians,^ 

Mastic. — This is a resin obtained from the Fistacia 
lentiscus, a tree which grows in the Levant, and parti- 
cularly in the island of Chios. Mastic appears to have 
been always used in the arts as a varnish ; and in the 
Lucca MS.^ it is recommended to be added to a varnish 
or mordant composed of linseed-oil, with resins and 
gums of various kinds, as a dryer. Mastic and mastio- 
varnish are also mentioned as dryers by Italian writers 
on art.^ 

Amber^ Siiccinum, Carabe, GlassOj Glas. — The vege- 
table origin of amber is now universally admitted. On 
this subject Humboldt remarks :* — " Goeppert's excel- 
lent researches, which, it is hoped, will soon appear 
illustrated with plates, inform us ^ that all the Baltic 
amber is derived from a coniferous tree, which, as 
proclaimed by the extant remains of the wood and bark, 
were obviously of different ages, came nearest to our 
white and red pine timber, but still constituted a parti- 
cular species.' The amber-tree of the former wcwpld 
(Pinites succifer) had a richness in resin with which 
none of the coniferous tribes of the present world will 
bear comparison, inasmuch as great masses of amber are 
contained not only within and upon the bark, but also 
between the rings of the wood, and in the direction of 
the medullary rays, which, as well as the cells, are seen 
under the microscope to be filled with ambreous resin, 
of a whiter or yellower colour in different places. 
Among-st the vegetable matters inclosed in amber we 
find both male and female flowers of indigenous, aci- 

1 Bol. MS., pp. 489, 621. Secreti di D. Alessio, part ii. f. 57, 160. 
Caneparius, de Atramentis, pp. 260, 341, 378, 379. Bulengerus dc 
Pictura, &c., lib. ii. cap. ii. Other authorities are cited by Mr. Eastlake, 
' Materials,' &c., p. 238. 

^ De Confectio Lucidee ; and see Clavicula, p. 53. 

3 See Brrante, Saggio sui Colori ; Armentni, de' Vcri Precetti j and Bi- 
sagno, Trattato, &c. ^ Kosmos, vol. i. p. 303, and see \o]. ii. p. 412. 

CHAP. Ti.] RESINS. cclv 

cular-leaved, and cupuliferous trees; but distinct frag- 
ments of Thuja, Cupressus, Ephedera, and Castania 
vesoa, mingled with others of junipers and firs, indicate 
a vegetation which is different from that of the present 
coasts and plains of the Baltic." 

Amber, according to Berzelius, ** contains five 
substances: — 1. An odoriferous oil, in small quan- 
tity. — 2. A yellow resin, intimately combined with this 
oil, dissolving freely in alcohol, ether, and alkalis, yery 
fusible, and resembling ordinary vegetable resins. — 3. A 
resin soluble with diflSculty in cold alcohol, more freely 
in hot alcohol, from which it separates on cooling, as a 
white powder soluble in ether and alkalis. These two 
resins and the volatile oil, if removed from amber by 
ether, and then obtained by evaporation of the latter in 
water, form a natural viscid balsam, very odorous, of a 
clear yellow colour, and which gradually becomes hard, 
but retains some odour. There is every reason for 
supposing this to be precisely the substance from 
which amber originates, but rather poorer in es- 
sential oil than at first; and that the insoluble 
substances in amber have been gradually formed by a 
spontaneous alteration of this balsam, but at the same 
time have enveloped one part of it, and so preserved it 
from entire decomposition or change. — 4. Succinic acid, 
dissolved with the preceding bodies by ether, alcohol, 
and alkalis. — 5. A body insoluble in alcohol, ether, and 
alkalis, analogous in some points to the substance found 
by Dr. John in lac, and called by him the principle of 
he. This is formed in large quantity when a solution 
of lac in alkali is precipitated by chlorine."^ 

Amber was formerly found on the coasts of the 
Baltic, also near the Fo and Adriatic : and it is stated 
by Depping* to have been imported from the Maldives. 

1 Ure's Dictionary of Chemistry, p. 147. 
* Histoire du Commerce, vol. i. p. 142. 

cclvi INTRODUCTION. [chap. vt. 

The amber found on the shores of the Baltic was known 
to the inhabitants of those countries under the name of 
glessum, whence glasse, glassa, glas. The fact of 
amber having been found near the Po, and on the 
shores of the Adriatic, is mentioned by Agricola,* and 
by Matthioli, merely as a report, which they considered 
to have originated from the circumstance that amber 
necklaces were commonly worn by the peasant women 
of these countries;* and both authors carefully dis- 
tinguish amber or succino from the gum or resin which 
exudes from the black and white poplars growing on 
the banks of the Po. The latter writer, especially, is 
very precise in this respect. In quoting the following 
passage from Serapion, " Et dicitur quod gummi Haur 
Romi,' quod nascitur circa fluvium, qui dicitur Eri- 
danus, quaudo distillat in flumine illo, coagulatur ibi, et 
est illud, quod dicitur Alipton, id est electrum; et 
sunt qui nominant ipsura Arsopodon, et est charabe,*' 
and a similar passage from Avicenna, he remarks, they 
do not affirm that charabe is the gum of the black 
poplar, but merely that it is said to be. Conder,* how- 
ever, mentions that amber is found in earth impregnated 
with petroleum, beneath the vineyards and corn-fields 
in the territory of Modena ; and it will also be recol- 
lected that in the book lent by Era Dionisio to 
Alcherius, a certain gum, Andrianum, which had attrac- 
tive powers similar to those possessed by amber and 
resins generally, is stated to have been found on Monte 
Buono ( Bene).* Phillips® states that amber is actually 
found in Italy and on the coast of the Adriatic. 

1 De Metallicis, f. 238. Trans, of Diosc, pp. 156, 166. 

^ '^ The Etrurians carried on considerable trade through the north of 
Italy and across the Alps, where * the Sacred Road' led to the distant amber 
countries.** (See Humboldt's Kosmos, vol. ii. p. 164.) These traders pro- 
bably supplied the Italian women with amber. 

3 Haur Romi is the Arab name for the black poplar. See Matt., p. 155. 

* Italy, vol. ii. p. 46. » Sec p. 82. « Mineralogy, p. 878. 

CHAP. Yi.l RESINS. cclvil 

It may be considered questionable whether the sub- 
stance reputed to have been imported from the Maldives 
during the middle ages, under the name of amber, was 
really amber or oriental copal. Mr. Eastlake has 
shown* that these substances were scarcely distinguished 
in ancient recipes. Old writers mention two kinds of 
amber, the white and the yellow ; and the only distinctive 
property they assign to amber is, that of attracting 
straws, which proves to be common to resins generally, 
and cannot therefore be considered as decisive. Agri- 
cola asserts* that amber was certainly found in Africa, 
but he knew not in what parts : he says it was also 
found in Syria, in India, and, according to Marco 
Polo, the Venetian traveller, in the Island of Mada- 
gascar. It appears that copal is found in Abyssinia, in 
Palestine, and in the East Indies ; and it is sold in the 
bazaars of Jerusalem, Mecca, and other places, as a 
choice specimen of incense.' In this respect it agrees 
with what Agricola says* of amber; namely, that the 
odour of the smoke of amber was more agreeable to the 
Indians than that of incense. Copal is also brought 
from Madagascar.^ There are some grounds then for 
considering that the amber stated to have been procured 
from Africa and Asia may have been oriental copal ; 
and that although amber was actually found in some 
parts of Italy, European nations were principally sup- 
plied with it from Germany. 

There are two kinds of amber : the best, which is 
imported from Prussia and Poland, is hard and trans- 
parent, and the surface is frequently marked in a 
pecuKar manner, as if, when in a fluid state, it had been 
enclosed in wood, and had then taken and retained the 
impression of the fibres of the wood and bark. This kind 

i Materials, &c., p. 233, 234. > De Metallicis, f. 243. 

3 Pbarinaoeutical Journal, vol. v. No. iv. « De Metallicis, f. 243* 

^ Guibourt, HistCNre des Drogues, vol. ii. p. 626. 

VOL. I. r 

cclviii INTKODUCTION. [chip. ti. 

of amber makes the best varnish, and disserves perfectly 
in oil. The other sort of amber is called sea-amber, 
and is of the size of coffee-beans, but inregular in shape, 
darker than the first kind, and much less transparent. 
Mr. Wilson Neil says,^ " it is harder to fiise, has less 
fluidity, and contains more salt, gas, and impurities.^ 

CopaL — A very white transparent resin, used for- 
merly by the aborigines of Spanish America as incense. 
In the language of these people it signified all kinds of 
resin exuding from trees.^ Under the name of copal, 
therefore, it is useless to look for this resin in works 
Vnritten previous to tlie period of the introduction of 
American produce into Europe. At present three 
Varieties are known in commerce, viz., Brazilian, We^ 
Indian, and East Indian or Levantine copaL The 
former, which is called soft copal, exudes from one of 
the HymensesB ; the latter, or hard copal, is the produce 
of the Vateria Indica.* The last variety was pro- 
bably the same substance which was called amber by 
the Italians, and which was stated by Agricola and 
Matthioli to have been imported from Syria and 
India, and by Marco Polo from the Island of 
Madagascar; and this supposition is rendered more 
probable by the fact that the Levantitie copal is now 
brought from Palestine, Abyssinia, and Madagascar. 
The South African copal is considered the finest in 
quality, and the best samples which sometimes reach 
Europe from India were originally procured from 
Africa.* The white resin of Arabia, mentioned in the 
Paduan MS.,* was perhaps African copal, which it 
appears is sold in the bazaars of Jerusalem, Mee4sa,'and 
other places, as a species of choice incense, and is at the 

1 On the Manufacture of Varnishes, Trans. Soc Arts, vol. xlix. part' 2. 

« Ray's History of Plants, p. 1846. » Pharm. Times, vol. Hi. p. 608. 

< See Mr. Eastlake's 'Materials,' &e., p. 284, citing Tripier-Deveaux, 
' Tr«t^ Th^rique et Pratique sur TArt de fSaire ks Vernls,' Paris, 1845, 
p. 40 ; and Guit)ourt, Hist, des Drogiiw, rol. ii. p. 626, on the Copal of 
Madagascar. ^ P. 696. 

CHAP. VI.] BESINS. cclix 

present time chiefly employed for this purpose on the 
altars of Mahomet.^ 

The earliest writer who uientions copal by this name 
as an ingredient in varnishes is probably Fra Fortunato 
of Bovigo, the recipes in whose * Secreti ' date from 1 659 
to 1711. The next author is Palomino, who gives ^ a 
recipe for varnish composed of copal dissolved in spirit 
of turpentine. As the solvent in both recipes is the 
same, it Biay be concluded that copal was at this period 
usually dissolved in spirits of turpentine. I have ascer- 
tain^ that copal is perfectly soluble in cpld oil qf spike, 
but the solution is not effected in less than five or six 
yeajTS. I possess a specimen of copal varnish prepared 
in this way, which is very clear and pale. 

JBlack Poplar Resin. — It has been observed that this 
resin was considered by Serapion, Avicenna, and other 
writers as synonymous with carabe or amber, and that 
Agricola and Matthioli had shown that a resin actually 
exuded from both kinds of poplar, and that the black 
poplar was the tree known to the Arabs under the 
name of ** haur Romi." Schrceder has, however, the 
reputation of having been the first who pointed out this 
resin, which he obtained not from the bark in the 
manner described by the ancients, but by boiling the 
buds of the black poplar in water and afterwards pressing 
them. The buds yield about one-fourth of their weight 
of resin, which is said to resemble Botany Bay resin.* 
But although new to the moderns, this resirv was appa- 
rently not unknown to the medieval writers, since we 
find ^^ flores populi " among the ingredients in two kinds 
of varnish, for which there are recipes in the Lucca 
MS., which are copied in the Clavicula.^ 

Lac* — There is some doubt whether the " lacca " of 
the Lucca MS. and the Clavicula was gum lac or the 

1 Pharmaceutical Journal, rol. iv. p. 4. > Museo Pictorico, vol. ii. p. 328. 
sjSee London Encydop., art. Chemistry, p. 494. 
^ Mappee Clavicula, p. 53, 54. 

r 2 

cclx INTRODUCTION. [chaf. vi. 

gum of the ivy, but it is certain that Indian gum lac 
was imported into Spain and Provence as early as 
1220.^ Although the art of preparing a red pigment 
from this resin was known at an early period, the resin 
itself appears to have been considered useless, and it 
was probably only towards the close of the seventeenth 
century that it came into use as an ingredient in var- 
nishes. The Paduan MS.* contains directions for sep«r 
rating the red colouring matter, so that the gum might 
be used in japanning as a varnish with or without 
colours. Lac varnish does not appear to have been used 
for varnishing pictures or in painting until very recently. 
Benzoin. — A solid balsam,' extracted from incisions 
made in the Storax benzoe, a tree which grows in Su- 
matra. According to Depping ^ it was imported at an 
early period into Europe; but as an ingredient in 
varnish it does not appear to have been used until the 
middle of the sixteenth century. It was employed for 
this purpose by the Italians and Spaniards, and the 
earliest notices of it probably occur in th^ Marciana 
MS.* and in the * Secreti ' of D. Alessio.* Varnish of 
benzoin is also mentioned by Armenini,^ and in the 
Paduan MS." The benzoin was dissolved in spirit of 
turpentine or spirit of wine. Benzoin appears never to 
have been an ingredient in oil varnishes. Palomino and 
Pacheco mention this balsam under the name of meiytd. 

1 Capmany, Memorias, &c. ; and the Statutes of Maneilles, quoted by 
Depping, vol. i. p. 147. « P. 686, 688. 

« " Balsams are mixtures of resins and volatile oils. They differ veiy 
greatly in consistence, some being quite fluid, others solid and brittle. By 
keeping, the softer kinds often become hard. Balsams may be conveniently 
divided into two classes, viz., those which, like common and Venice turpen- 
tine, Canada balsam. Copaiba balsam, &c., are merely natural varnishes, or 
solutions of resins, in volatile oils, and those which contain benzoic or cin- 
namic acid in addition, as Peru and Tolu balsams, and the solid resinous 
benzom, commonly called gum-benzoin." — Fownes, Manual of Elementary 
Chemistry, p. 501. 

^ Hist, du Commerce, vol. i. p. 142. 5 p. 629. 

« Secreti, part i. f. 1 1 6. ^ De' Veri Precetti, lib. ii. cap. ix. « P. 698. 

caiAP. VI.] VARNISHES. <^clxi 

Copaiva is obtained from incisions made in the trunk 
of the Copaifera officinalis, a tree which grows in 
South America and some of the West India islands. 
It is mentioned as an ingredient in amber varnish, in 
the Paduan MS., and appears to have been used by the 
later Venetians' both in varnishes and in painting.^ 

Damara Resin. — Terebinta di Dammara is the 
produce of the Pinus dammara (Lambert), Agathis dam- 
mara (Rich., ConifSre, tav. 19), a tree which grows in 
the Indian Archipelago. Its odour is strongly resinous 
and its taste very bitter.* At the present time this resin 
is mueh used in the Venetian territories as a varnish, 
and it is currently reputed to have been employed by 
the old masters ; but this opinion appears to be unsup- 
ported by evidence — indeed, its uses are described by 
Chevalier and Richard as being unknown. It has, 
however, been recently employed at Munich as a vehicle 
for painting, for which purpose it was dissolved in 
spirits of turpentine with a certain proportion of bleached 
wax.' For the following recipe for damara varnish for 
pictures, I am indebted to a painter of Verona : — Put 
two and a half ounces of damara resin finely powdered 
and six ounces of spirit of turpentine into a bottle ; 
shake occasionally until the resin is dissolved, and it 
will be a strong varnish. No heat is necessary. 


The earliest varnish and that which was most univer- 
sally adopted in Italy was unquestionably the old 
vernice liquida, which was composed of linseed oil and 
pulverised sandarac, commonly called " vernice," *' ver- 
nice da scrivere," and '' gomma di gineparo." The 
varnishes of Theophilus are referred to under the name 

1 See Mr. Sheldrake's Essay, Trans. Soc. Arts, vol. xiz. ; and Mareucci, 
p. 222. s Diz. delle Droghe di Chevalier e Richard, &c. 

3 See Appendix to the Third Report of the Commissioners of the Fine 
Arts, p. 52. 

cclxii INTBODDCTION. [chap, vt 

of vernice liquida in the Tabula Imperfecta prefixed 
to the Le Begue MS. In this table and under the 
same head is another reference to the recipe of JUe 
Begue : " A faire bonne vernix liquide pour peintrea,"* 
which appears to have been compiled by him from 
the two recipes of Theophilus, with a few additkms 
of his own. From this recipe it may be inferred that 
Le Begue considered the materials in both the recipes 
of Theophilus as identical, but a comparison of these 
chapters of Theophilus with the three recipes in St. 
Audemar, Nos. 207, 208, and 209, and that in Eraclius 
(p. 24 1), make it highly probable that the resin in one 
case was sandarac and in the other amber.^ In addition 
to linseed oil Le Begue mentions hemp-seed and nut 
oils, which, he says, might be used instead of linseed 
oil ; and it may be remarked that in making varnishes 
linseed and nut oils were used indifferently. 

There is still another reference in the Tabula Im- 
perfecta to a recipe in the Le Begue MS. for " vdhiice 
liquida, ** but as No. 2 10, the recipe referred to, does 
not describe a varnish, one of those described in Nos. 
207, 208, and 209, and probably the first, must be in- 

The term " vernice liquida ** occurs frequently in the 
early Italian recipes copied in 1409 from the book of 
Fra Dionisio, and also in the treatise of St Audemar. 
It is also frequently mentioned in the Bolognese MS., 
which contains no less than three recipes for making it 
The first of these,* the old " vernice liquida," consisted 
of linseed oil and sandarac, under the name of '^ gomma 
di gineparo.** The varnish described in the second 
recipe was composed of linseed oil and incense. This 
varnish was made clear by the addition of roche alum^ 
and was rendered drying by the addition of minium ; 

1 No. 341, p. 313. s See Mr. Eutlake's ' Materials/ &c., p. 241—246. 

3 No. 206, p. 489. 

C3KAP. vj.] VARNISHES. cclxiii 

the oil, moreovers was set on fire and burnt to deprive 
it of its unctaosity.* From this recipe it is apparent 
that the term ^^ vernice liquida " wa^ not always limited 
to the original signification, but was som^imes extended 
to a varnish composed of oil and incensje. When^ how- 
ever> the materials of which the varnish is composed 
are not specified, the old vernice liquida (liuseed oil 
and sandarao) is generally to be understood. The third 
varnish was, Uke the first, composed of linseed oil, 
sandarac, here called ^* vernice da scrivere," and thirty 
or forty cloves of garlic ; and when the varnish was 
nearly cold the whites of several eggs were added to it 
^md well mixed, and t\jke bottle was placed in the sun 
for one day. Vernice liquida is also frequently men- 
tioned by Cennini not only as a varnish for pictures ' 
and for tin,^ but as an ingredient in cements,^ and mor- 
dants,^ and other works. 

Although vernice liquida is not mentioned in the 
Faduan MS. or by Volpato, Armenini, Bisagno, or 
Borghini, the evidence of Matthioli, Ganeparius, and 
others is sufficient to establish the fact that die use of it 
with colours was not entirely discontinued in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. By the Spanish 
painters this varnish, which is described by Facheco as 
that of the ^^ guadamacileros " (leather- gilders), was in 
his time mixed with colours in a particular kind of oil 
painting, which this writer calls ^ 'Mas encarnaciones de 

The '^ drying oil " mentioned in the appendix to the 
Italian edition of * L'I(lee du Feintre Farfait • of De 
Files consisted of vernice liquida made drying by the 
addition of litharge. 

In the course of time the old vernice liquida was 
n](o4ified in various ways. It was sometimes cp^ibined 

1 P. 621. « Cap. 156. » Caps. 97, 98, 101. * Cap. 107. 

ft Cap. 161. « Tratado, p. 404. 

cclxiv INTRODUCTION. ' [chap. ▼!. 

with incense, as in the recipe in the Marciana MS., ap- 
proved by Sansovino,^ and sometimes with pece Greca.* 

Next in importance to the "vernice liquida** was the 
" vernice comune," or common varnish, of the Italians, 
which Armenini and Bisagno direct to be mixed with 
the priming, and with certain colours. There is no 
doubt that the term was first applied to the varnish of 
sandarac and oil, which Caneparius calls* "common 
liquid varnish ;" but before Armenini's time the appel- 
lation "common" appears to have been applied to 
another varnish also. 

Armenini and Bisagno give several recipes for 
varnish, and after describing one made of mastic and 
nut-oil, they add that " this varnish may be added to 
the finer kinds of azure, lakes, and other colours, that 
they may dry more quickly ;" but neither of them states 
that this is the "vernice comune." A similar varnish 
is mentioned in the Marciana MS/ as a most excellent 
varnish for lutes, leather, paintings on panel, cloth, &c 
In the recipe for making printing-ink the same author 
says,* " Take varnish made for varnishing, and the finer 
it is the better; but the common varnish which the 
apothecaries sell to varnish wood and other things will 
do." The composition of " the best vernice comune, 
which is good for varnishing whatever you please," is 
described at p. 637, where it is stated to consist of 
linseed oil and pece Greca. The statement that " ver- 
nice comune " was made of linseed oil and pece Greca 
is confirmed by Leonard Fioravanti,* who recommends 
one part oil and three parts pece Greca. It will be 
observed that the common Italian varnish corresponds 
with one of the varnishes in the Strassburg MS.,' with 

1 P. 631. « P. 637. See also Venetian MS. in the Sloane 

Collection, No. 416, f. 139. » De Atramentis, p. 260. 

-« P. 633. » See p. 619. « Secreti, lib. iii. cape. 67, 96. 

7 Quoted by Mr..£astlake, < Materials,' &c., p. 280. 

CHAP. VI.] • VARNISHES. cclxv 

one of those in the Venetian M8^^ and also with the 
Tarnish of " Pesferi *' of the Byzantine MS.* 

Another varnish described in the Marciana MS.' ^^ as 
a most excellent^ clear, and drying varnish, proper 
for colours both in oil-painting and in other kinds of 
painting/' consists of the "vernice comune/' with the 
addition of mastic. This addition was probably made 
with the view of rendering the varnish more siccative, 
since mastic was placed among dryers as early as the 
date of the Lucca MS. The drying properties of 
mastic varnish are alluded to by Armenini * and Bi- 
sagno, and the varnish of mastic and nut-oil is recom- 
mended by Errante * as the safest of all dryers. It is 
not therefore improbable that this varnish may have 
borne the name of " vernice comune ** as well as the 
varnish made of nut or linseed oil and pece Greca. It 
is probable that the varnishes composed of pece Greca, 
mastic, and incense were much lighter in colour than 
the " vernice liquida," and therefore were better adapted 
for mixing with light colours. It must be observed that 
the common varnish used by the Flemish painters em- 
ployed by Charles I. in England consisted of Venice 
turpentine dissolved in oil of turpentine.* The " vernix 
commun " of the French resembled this. 

According to Pierre Pomet ' the latter was nothing 
more than the turpentine procured from the pine (Pinus 
abies) liquefied in spirit of turpentine. The same 
author also calls * this varnish " le vernis gros." Pierre 
Pomet wrote in the eighteenth century, and as a varnish 

1 Sloane MS., No. 416, p. 139. ^ Manuel d'Iconographie, p. 40. 

s P. 633. According to Bonanni this varnish is used by the Turks for 
bows, &c. 

^ Speaking of the varnish of mastic and nut-oil, Armenini says ''e di 
questa se ne pu6 mettere negli azzurri fini, nelle lacche e in altri colori, 
acci5 si asciughino piu presto." 

» Saggio, &c. « Mr. Eastlake, ' Materials,' 471 -476. 

1 Hist G^n^rale des Drogues, ii. 106. > lb., p. 71. 

cckvi INTIK)DUCnON. [chap. ▼!. 

compoeed of a balsam dissolved in an e9sential oil can 
be traced in Italy as early as the date of tbe Marciana 
MS./ and was reputed to be in general use ^rougbout 
Lombardy about 1580/ tbere is reason to believe tbat 
this kind of varnish was of Italiau origin.' That it was 
used in Spain is proved by Facbeco^ who remarks ^ that 
the Strassburg turpentine (trementina de veta de 
Francia) should be used. 

But the " gros vemis " of the IVeneh was not the 
^* vernice grossa " of the Italians!, By flie latter, the 
term was applied sometimes to a dry substance and 
sometimes to a liquid varnish. When Borghini ^ says, 
^^ Frendasi .... un' onoia d' olio di spigo e un* oncia di 
sandarae ovvero vernice grossa»" it is probable that he 
means sandarac in its dry state. Baldinucci defines 
*^ vernice grossa " to be a varnish which aerves as a pre- 
paration for painting in oil on walls (per intonacare a 
olio), and which is also used in the eonoipogitiw of print- 
ing-ink. D. Alessio states^ that the varnish used for 
the latter purpose was 'Werniee liquida,** Caneparius^ is 
still more precise ; he calls it ** Common liquid varnish 
. • . made of Arabian sandarac, which is the gum of tbe 
juniper, and linseed-oil.'' It appears then that the term 
" vernice grossa " was applied both to dry sandarac and 
to the old vernice liquida. In the last sense we are 
probably to understand the words of Vasari in speaking" 
of preparing walls for painting in oil : *♦ Make in a 
pipkin a mixture of pece Greca, mastic, and vernice 
grossa, and when this is boiled apply it with a large 
brush." • It can scarcely be supposed that the resins 

1 P, 635. « See Annenini, de' Veri Preoetti, &c. Hackert states 

that this varnish had been in use all over the north of Europe for upwards 
of 200 years. See Lettera al Cav. Hamilton, sulP Uso delia Yernioe nella 
Pittura. Perugia, 1788. « See Mr. Eastlake^ * Materials,' &c., p. 470. 

-» Tratado, p. 418. » Riposo, p. 176. « Secreti, parte i. f. 118, 

7 De Atramentis, p. 260. 8 Int., cap, xxii. 

^ Compare with Vasari's description of Sebastian del Piombo's method 
of painting in oil on walls, in the * Life' of that artist. 

CHAP. Ti.] VARNIWES. cclxvii 

would spread if they were merely melted without being 
diluted with oil. In the * El^mens de Peintore * of De 
Files ^ this^ passage is translated ^* de poix Grecque, de 
mastic, et de gros vernis ;'* but the " gros vemis *' of the 
French was, I have shown, not identical with the " ver- 
nice grossa'* of &e Italians. At a later period, the 
term "vemice grosse" was also- used to denote the 
common oleo-resinous varnishes. Thus linseed-oil bailed 
with litharge is said to be of great use in house-painting 
and in the composition of " vernici grosse." * 

Amber, the prindpal ingredient in the German var- 
nish,^ does not appear to be noticed as a varnish by 
Italian writers previous to the time of Lionardo da 
Vinci,* who directs that a picture to be painted accord* 
ing to certain directions given by him, should be var- 
nished either with nut-oil and amber, or with nut"K)il 
thickened in the sun.^ As Lionardo was one of the 
earliest Italian artists who practised oil-painting upon 
its first diflusion in Italy, after its introduction by An- 
tonello da Messina, and as the early Flemish painters 
are known to have used amber varnish, it may be 
supposed that this varnish of nut-oil and amber was one 
of the recent improvements introduced from Flanders* 
by Antonello da Messina and the German artists, 
pupils and followers of Van Eyck,'' who visited Italy 
in the latter half of the fifteenth century. 

1 Jombert's edition, p. 188. Park, 1766. 

2 Diz. delle Droghe di Chevalier e Richard, Traduzione da F. du Prd. 
Yenezia, 1830. 3 See Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials,' p, 288. 

* Lionardo was a pnpil of Andrea Verrocchio, who was probably ac- 
quainted with the art of oil painting, unce Vasari relates that he painted 
certain wax effigies of Lorenzo de* Medici with oil colours. See Vasari, 
Life of Andrea Verrocchio. ^ Trattato, cap. 362. 

8 It must not be forgotten that the Byzantine MS. of Mount Athos con- 
tains a recipe for varnish made of oil and " santalose," which was probably 
** amber ;" amber varnish may therefore have been introduced into Italy by 
the Greeks ; but of this there appears no evidence. 

7 Roger of Bruges, Memling, and Justus van Ghent See Mr. East- 
lake's ' Materials,' p. 217. 

cclxviii INTRODUCTION. [chap. 

Notices of amber varnish are not of frequent occur- 
rence in early Italian works on art. It appears, how- 
ever, to be mentioned in the Marciana MS. under the 
term " carbone,'* which has undoubtedly been written 
instead of "carabe," ^ the Arabic and Persian term for 
amber. The varnish made according to the recipe in 
question would, like all the old varnishes, be very thick, 
the proportions being one part of amber to three of oil. 
It was, therefore, diluted with naphtha, oil, or spirit of 
wine, and was used warm. 

The * Secreti ' of Alessio also describes * a varnish 
for pictures consisting of three parts of amber varnish 
and one of distilled linseed-oil; and another varnish 
composed of linseed-oil and amber is quoted by Mr. 
Eastlake from the * Secreti ' of Rossello.' 

It appears from the MS. of Volpato* that amber 
varnish was in use in his time, and that it was pur- 
chased ready-made at the shops, whence it may be 
inferred that it was in common use. In the absence, 
however, of any precise recipe for this amber varnish 
of which Volpato speaks, it cannot be determined 
whether amber was actually an ingredient, or whether 
the so-called amber varnish was the old "vemice 
comune" (linseed-oil and pece Greca) which was 
known in Bonanni's time under the name of " amber 
varnish."* The ingredients of this varnish were 
linseed-oil one part, and pece Greca three parts, 
so that it was, in fact, the vemice comune of the 
Italians, before described.' It is diflScult, indeed with- 
out additional evidence it is impossible, to assign any 
reason for the new name given to this varnish. We 
may, perhaps, be allowed to hazard a conjecture, and 

1 See p. 628 and note. 2 Part ii. p. 67. 

» Publi«hed at Venice in 1676, quoted in * Materials/ &c., p. 241. 
* P. 743. 

» Trattato sopra )a Vemice detta comunemente Cinese, p. 42. The 
''new" edition was published in 1786. 

CHAP. VI.] VARNISHiS. cclxix 

to suppose that on account of the high price of amb«r, 
and the great difficulty of making pale amber varnish, 
it was customary to purchase it ready made, and that 
the dealers substituted for it the before-mentioned thick 
composition of linseed-oil and pece Greca. 

In the before-mentioned recipes for amber varnish, 
the amber was dissolved in oil ; but in those which are 
now to be described, a balsam was substituted for the 
oil. Such varnishes were perhaps more brilliant, but 
less solid than the first, which contained oil. In the 
recipe for amber varnish in the Paduan MS.* the amber 
is dissolved in turpentine liquefied over the fire. The 
mixture, which when cold is hard, is to be diluted with 
spirits of turpentine. Another recipe, which is stated 
by Mr. Sheldrake * to have been brought from Venice 
towards the close of the last century, resembled the amber 
varnish of the Paduan MS.' except that copal was used in- 
stead of amber. He tried the recipe and failed, because, 
as he afterwards found, the Venice turpentine of the shops 
was not the natural balsam, but common resin dissolved 
in spirit of turpentine. He tried the experiment a 
second time with Chio turpentine, and succeeded. 

Nearly similar to this is the varnish used by Le 
Blond on his prints.* On this subject Mr. Sheldrake 
observes, " Le Blond's prints were long neglected, and 
are now foi^otten. Whatever difference of opinion 
may prevail respecting them, there can be none respect- 
ing his varnish, as I have seen some of these prints in 

1 p. 688. * See a paper by Mr. Sheldrake in the Transactions 

of the Society of Arts. vol. xix. ^ P. 688. 

* The recipe is as follows : — " Take 4 parts of balsam of copavi and one 
of copal. Powder and sift the copal, and throw it by degrees into the balsam 
of oopavi, stirring it well each dme it is put in ; I say each time, for the 
powdered copal must be put in by degrees, day after day, in at least 15 
different parts. The vessel must be close stopped and exposed to the heat 
of the sun, or a similar degree of heat, during the whole time ; and when 
the whole is reduced uniformly to the consistence of honey, add a quantity 
of warm turpentine.' 


csckx INTRODUCTION. [chai^. n. 

perfect condition, notwithstanding they had been 
thrown carelessly about for nearly sixty years. Le 
Blond was a pupil of Carlo Maratti. He died at a 
very advanced age, leaving behind him the character of 
an ingenious projector." Mr. Sheldrake's conjecture 
respecting the Italian origin of this recipe appears to 
be well founded. 

It will be observed that these varnishes contained 
neither linseed nor nut oil ; and ki this respeot they 
resembled a varnish which a profisssor of Parma con* 
siders to have been that of Correggio. The ingredients 
of the latter varnish di&red slightly from those in iiie 
varnish last described ; they consisted of amber di^ 
solved in balsam of copaiba (an American production, 
probably not in use in the time of Oorreggio), and 
thinned with oil of spike. Sometimes, as in tiie re- 
ceipts of the Paduan MS.,^ mastic was substituted for 
amber and copal, and sometimes sandarac and incense. 
A varnish composed of these last ingredients widi 
Venice turpentine is described by D. Alessio' to dry as 
soon as spread. 

The transition is easy from these resinous vacnishes 
containing amber and copal to those composed only of 
a balsam liquefied in an essential oil lake that stated by 
Armenini to have been adopted by Correggio, i^hich 
consisted of the olio di abezzo liquefied over the fire, 
and thinned with naphtha. Count Carlo Yerri attempted 
several times unsuccessfully to make this varnish ; at 
length, having procured genuine olio di abezso from the 
Yaltellina, and the naphtha having been rectified by a 
chemist on whom he could depend, he succeeded per- 

The above varnish of olio di abezzo and naphtha is 

1 Pp. 671, 673. « Secreti, pert ii. p. 67. 

s Verri, Saggio Elementare sul Digegno della Figura Umana, p. 138. 
The results of Count Carlo Vcrri's experiments with this varnish are stated 
by Mr. Eastlake, * Materials/ &c., p. 481. 

CHAP. VI.] VAiaNISBES. cdxxi 

mentioned in the Marciana MS^^ accompanied by a 
statement that the olio di abezzo may be diluted with 
linseed or nut oil inspissated by exposure to the sun, or 
with naphtha. Count Carlo Verri's failure in making 
this varnish was probably not the only one; for this MS. 
requires that the olio di abezzo should be genuine ; and 
in order to test its purity, directs that olio di abezzo and 
the oil with which it is tempered should be warmed, and 
then spread over the work : if the olio di abezzo was not 
genuine, it would be long in drying, which was a proof that 
it had been mixed with turpentine; but if it dried 
quickly and perfectly, this was a proof of its purity- 
From this it appears that pure olio di abezzo was a good 
drier. The above instances are sufficient to show the 
importance of procuring the best materials for varnishes. 

In addition to the varnishes above mentioned, those 
composed of a resin or balsam dissolved in an essential 
oil appear to have been used on pictures. Of these 
the favourite varnish, if we may judge by the number of 
the recipes, was benzoin dissolved in spirits of wine : 
this is mentioned not only in the Marciana MS.^ but in 
the Paduan MS.^ and by D. Alessio, Armenini, Bisagno, 
Facheco, and Palomino. 

On ^referring to the recipes for making the varnishes 
before mentioned, it will be observed that they were so 
thick as to be sometimes solid on cooling. They were 
therefore sometimes diluted, while warm, with a proper 
quantity of purified linseed or nut oil, spirit of turpen- 
tine, naphtha, or oil of spike ; and, when Uiick, they were 
applied on the picture previously warmed in the sun, 
with the hand or with a sponge. It may be remarked 
that the varnishes to be mixed with colours were not 
required to be thin, because a small quantity only was 
to be mixed with the colours already ground with oil. 

With regard to the high colour of oleo-resinous var- 

1 P. 686. « P. 629. 8 P. 699. 

cckxii INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

nishes, it may be observed that it is the custom in Ger- 
many to keep these varnishes in a sunny window; 
amber varnish, thus exposed to the light, will, it is said, 
in three years become sufficiently pale for general use- 

The use of amber varnish as a vehicle for painting 
was revived and recommended as long ago as 1801 by 
Mr. Sheldrake in a paper published in the 19th volume 
of the Transactions of the Society of Arts. In these 
papers Mr. Sheldrake endeavours to prove that this 
varnish was used by the Italian painters; and as his 
opinion has been in a great measure confirmed by docu- 
mentary evidence, his papers acquire additional interest 
from his having recorded the experiments made by 
himself in painting with this varnish. 

The result of Mr. Sheldrake's experiments is thus 
stated : — 

^^ I dissolved it [amber] in each of the painter's oils, 
by Dr. Lewis's process, without injuring its colour ; and 
this solution was made in the common way. It was 
much darker coloured in itself but produced scarcely 
any difference in effect when mixed with colour. By 
experiments with each of these solutions I ascertained 
the following facts, viz. : — 

^^ Every colour, and all the tints compounded from 
it, were more brilliant than corresponding tints and 
colours mixed with the best drying oils to be procured 
from the shops. 

" Colours mixed with amber, after having been shut 
up in a drawer for several years, lost nothing of their 
original brilliancy. The same colours tempered with 
oils, and excluded from the air, were so much altered 
that they could scarcely be recognised. 

" Colours tempered with amber were laid on plates 
of metal, and exposed (both in the air and close boxes) 
for a long time to different degrees of heat, from that 
of the sun in summer to the strong heat of a stove, 
without being injured. It is needless to observe that 


CHAP. VI.] VARNISHES. cdxxiii 

oil-colours cannot undergo the same trials without being 

" These colours, when perfectly dried in any way, 
were not acted upon by spirit of wine and spirit of 
turpentine united. They were washed with spirit of 
sal ammoniac and solutions of potash for a longer time 
than would destroy common oil-colours without being 

" They dry as well in damp as in dry weather, and 
without any skin upon the surface. They are not 
liable to cracky and are of a flinty hardness ; whence it 
appears that this vehicle possesses every desirable pro- 
perty, and it is presumed may be a discovery of some 
importance to artists. 

" Having succeeded thus far with amber, I tried the 
same experiments upon solutions of gum copal, which 
is nearly as hard and insoluble as amber itself. The 
result of these was the same as the former, except that 
with copal the colours were something brighter than 
with amber. As it is extremely troublesome to dis- 
solve the copal and amber, I tried those solutions of 
them in oil which are sold in the shops. When good I 
found them to answer as well as my own. This is a 
great convenience, as many might be deterred by the 
difficulty of preparing this vehicle, who may willingly 
use it, as it is thus to be procured without that trouble.** 

Mr. Sheldrake also observes : — 

^^ If my experiments have not misled me, I am entitled 
to draw the following conclusions from them : — wherever 
a picture was found possessing evidently superior 
brilliancy of colour, independent of what is produced 
by the painter's skill in colouring, that brilliancy is 
derived from the admixture of some resinous substance 
in the vehicle. If it does not yield on the application of 
spirit of turpentine and spirit of wine, separately or 
together, or (o such alkalies as are known to dissolve 
oils in the same time, it is to be presumed that vehicle 

VOL. I. s 

cclxxiv INTRODUCTION. [chap, vi- 

contains amber or copal, because they are the only sub- 
stances known to resist those menstrua. 

" I have been told, and some experiments of my onm 
prove the information to be true, that the Venetian 
pictures, considered with respect to vehicle, are of two 
kinds: for some are extremely bard^ and not at all 
affected by any of the above menstrua ;^ others are 
similar in colour, but ' so tender that it is scarcely pos- 
sible to clean them without injury, and in that respect 
are little superior to turpentine colours. The firsts 
in consequence of the data which I have laid down, 
incur the suspicion of being painted with amber or 

The correctness of Mr. Sheldrake's observations will 
be acknowledged on comparing them with Mr. Eastlake's 
remarks* on the advantages of amber varnish as a ve- 
hicle for painting. The firmest and most durable var- 
nishes were undoubtedly those composed of amber and 
oil ;' the next were those composed of other resins, such 
as sandarac, mastic, and pece Greca, with oil, or of am- 
ber or copal dissolved in a balsam ; and the last dass^ 
which consisted only of resins dissolved in essential oils^ 
was decidedly the least durable. 

^ *'By an attentive examination of pictures which belong to the first 
epoch of painting in oil, one may be convinced that some of the Italiana 
have employed oil varnishes which are harder than those now used by the 
Flemings, since they offer greater resistance to solvents/'— Merimde, &c,, 
p. 30. s Materials, &c., pp. 290, 303, 303, 304 n., 306, 316, 486. 

s See Mr. Wilson Neil on the Manufacture of Varnishes, Trans. Soc 
Arts, p. 69. Dreme, Der Vimiss-u. Kittmacher, &c. Marcuoci, Sag^o, 
&c., p. 163. Merim^, p. 43. 

Dr. Lewis, after describing the experiment of Hoffmann raeotioned by 
Mr. Eastlake,* shows that perfect solutions of amber in drying and other 
oils may be obtained in the following manner : — '* In Dr. Stockar's very 
curious Spccvaun Inaugurale de Sucdno, printed at Leyden In 1760, 
there are sundry more important experiments on the subject, made by 
himself conjointly with my worthy correspondent Mr. Ziegler, of Win- 
terthur. They fbund that by continuing a simmering heat twelve houn, 

* Materials, p. 318. 


On the use of Varnish with Colours in Painting. 

It has been mentioned that in glazing, vamish was 
generally mixed with the colours. The practice, how- 
ever, does not appear to have been universal, and the 
same artist is reputed to have employed diflPerent ma- 
terials upon different pictures. Sometimes it is said 
that oil only was used to paint with, and sometimes the 

and confining the rapour as much as stone- ware vessels would bear with* 
out bursting (the danger of which was avoided by making a small notch 
in the copk stoppers), powdered amber dissolved perfectly in expressed 
oils, in turpentine, and in balsam of copaiba. A strong copper vessel, with 
a cover screwed on it, seemed most eligible ; and for the greater security a 
valve may be made in the cover, kept down by a spring that shall give way 
before the confined vapour is of su£5cient force to be in any danger of burst- 
ing the vessel. Though such a heat as converts part of the oil into strong 
elastic vapours, and the forcible compressure of the vapour, are expedient for 
hastening the dissolution, they do not appear to be essentially necessary ; 
for, by digestion for a week in close stopped glass vessels, in which the com- 
pressure could not be very great, solutions equally perfect were obtained. 

'* The solution in rape-aeed oil, and in oil of almonds, was of a fine 
yellowish colour ; in linseed oil, gold coloured ; in oil of poppy-seeds, yel- 
lowish red ; in oil of olive, of a beautiful red ; in oil of nuts, deeper co- 
loured ; and in oil of bays, of a purplish red. It is observable that this 
last oil, which of itself, in the greatest common heat of the atmosphere, 
proves a thick butyraceous consistence, continued fluid when the amber 
was dissolved in it. The solutions made with turpentine and with balsam 
of copaiba were of a deep red colour, and on cooling hardened into a 
brittle mass of the same colour. All the solutions mingle perfectiy with 
spirit of turpentine. Those made with the oils of linseed, bays, poppy- 
seeds, and nuts, and with the balsam of copaiba and turpentine, being 
diluted with four times their quantity of spirit of turpentine, formed hard, 
tenacious, glossy varnishes, which dried sufficientiy quick, and appeared 
greatly preferable to those made in the common manner from melted amber. 

*^ My worthy friend Mr. Ziegler, in an elegant German translation with 
which he had honoured this work, described a vamish, with the method of 
using it, which appeared from his experiments to be the best. Fine trans- 
parent amber reduced to powder b boiled in a brass vessel having a valve 
in its cover, with as much drying oil as will just cover it ; generally in 6 
or 6 hours the amber is perfectiy dissolved. Dilute the solution with four 
or five times its quantity of oil of turpentine, and let it stand some days, 
thataU the impurities may settie to the bottom." — Commercimn Pbiloso- 
phico-Technicum, or the Philosophical Commerce of Arts, by W. Lewis, 
London, 1763, 4to., p. 366, &c. 


cclxxvi INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

colours are stated to have been mixed with varnish. 
The following instances and observations, referring 
chiefly to the Italian schools, will show that varnish 
was frequently used, not only in glazing, but in the 
priming, and with the shadow colours. 

Armenini and Bisagno recommend the addition of 
common varnish to the priming, to those colours which 
dried with difficulty, and to the glazing colours. Bal- 
dinucci states * that boiled oil (olio cotto) was sometimes 
used in the darkest parts instead of varnish, and in 
other parts where the colours had sunk in. From this 
it appears that it was usual to mis: varnish with the 
dark shades. 

As an additional proof of the use of varnish in the 
dark parts of the picture, may be quoted the following 
description given by Vasari* of the method adopted 
by Giovan Francesco Caroti : — " He was of opinion, 
and in this he was not far from the truth, that varnishing 
was injurious to pictures, and that it caused them to 
appear old sooner than they would do otherwise ; and 
for this reason, he used varnish and certain purified 
oils in the shades when painting." This is certainly an 
admission that varnish was necessary either in the pic- 
ture or on the surface, and that the former was, by 
Caroti at least, considered preferable. 

De Piles mentions that in painting on walls, varnish 
was mixed with the colours to prevent the necessity of 
varnishing afterwards;'* and in the Italian edition of 
this work^ it is stated that painting on wood was 
executed in the same manner as on walls ; whence it 
may be inferred varnish was mixed with the colours. 
Canepario, the Venetian physician, says,* ** others are 
accustomed to mix colours with liquid varnish and 

1 Voc. Dis., tit. Olio Cotto. » Vita di Fra Giocondo ed altri. 

3 These instructions are as old as Vasari. See Int., cap. xix. 

4 Published at Turin in 1769. ^ De Atramentis, p. 304. 


linseed or nut oil, instead of white of egg and gum- 
water ; for a liquid and oily varnish binds the colours 
better together, &c.*' The Marciana MS.^ describes 
** an excellent clear and drying varnish proper for colours, 
both in oil-painting and in other kinds of painting." 

These direct proofs of the mixture of colours with 
varnish are from the works of authors describing the 
processes of their contemporaries.* As an indirect 
proo( but not the less valuable on that account, is the 
following anecdote related by Luigi Crespi^ of his 
father Giuseppe Maria Crespi, called " Lo Spagnuolo.'* 
" One day Cardinal Lambertini was in our house fitting 
for his portrait, which my father was painting, when one 
of my brothers entered the room, bringing a letter, 
just arrived by post, from another brother who was at 
Modena on business* The Cardinal took the letter, 
and, on opening it, said to my father, ^ Go on painting, 
and I will read it* Having opened it, he began to 
read quickly, inventing an imaginary letter, in which 
the absent son, with the greatest expressions of shame 
and humiliation, prostrated himself at the feet of his 
father, begging his pardon, and saying that he had 
found it impossible to disengage himself from a stringent 
promise of marrying a certain Signora ApoUonia, 

whence but he had hardly proceeded thus far 

when my father leaped on to his feet, knocking over 
palette, pencils, and chair, and upsetting oilj varnish^ 
and everything else which was on the little bench^ and 
uttering all kinds of exclamations. The Cardinal jumped 
up at the same time to quiet and pacify him, telling him 
as well as he could for laughing, that it was all nonsense, 
and entirely an invention of his own. Meanwhile my 
father was running round the room in despair, the Car- 
dinal following him ; and thus pleasantly ended the 

I P. 633. * For additional proof see the work of Grerard Lairesse, 

cap. V. ^ Lives of the Bolognese Painters, p. 220. 

cclxxviii .INTRODUCmON.' [chap. vi. 

morning's work. After this time, whenever his Eminence 
came to see my father, before getting out of the car- 
riage, he would whisper, ^ that he had no doubt Signora 
ApoUonia was at home with him.' " 

It is apparent from this passage, that Lo Spagnuolo 
was accustomed to use varnish in painting, or the 
varnish would not have been placed with the oil on tiie 
low bench by his side while painting a portrait, for 
which the Cardinal was actually tihen sitting ; it may 
also be inferred that varnish was still used in painting 
by Luigi Crespi, his son, who related the anecdote 
The period when this scene took place was between 
1717 and 1732. Lo Spagnuolo studied first under 
Angelo Michele Toni, afterwards under Domenieo 
Maria Canuti (who was a pupil of Guido), and lastly 
under Carlo Cignani ; and it is fair to presume that he 
employed their technical processes. The use made by Sir 
Peter Lely of varnish mixed with colour, when painting 
the portrait of Tillotson,^ may be considered another 
incidental proof of the use of varnish with colours. 

To these proofs from contemporary writers may be 
added the evidence of those who have cleaned and 
experimented on old pictures. Among the earliest 
may be reckoned the declaration of Bequeno ' that 
some of the pictures of Guercino were painted with 
oil mixed with pece Greca (the vernice comune of 
the sixteenth century), others with gums and resin% 
and some with oil only ; and the letter written by 
Hackert,* advocating the use of varnishes in painting. 
The reply to this letter * by a gentleman who at that 
period possessed the finest collection of Flemish pic^ 
tures in Bome is equally conclusive. This gentleman 

1 WalpoJe'a Anecdotes, vol. iii. p. 129. 

> Saggi sul RistabUimento, &c., vol. i. p. 169, n. 

s Publwhed at Perugia, 1788. 

4 Inserted in the Gbrnale di Roma, 20th December, 1788, 


states that varnish was always used by those Italian 
schools most distinguished for colouring, and that the 
works of Domenichino, who used varnish, were in 
better preservation than those of other pupils of the 
Carracci. We may also mention the certificate, dated 
1754, by Carlo Cesare Giovannini of Bologna,^ re- 
specting the state of preservation of the celebrated pic- 
ture by Raphael called the Madonna di S. Sisto, which 
he says was until that period intact, and had never been 
touched with varnishes, or otherwise, since the day 
when it had been placed over the altar of S. Sisto, 
perhaps by Raphael himself, and on which the varnish 
used in retouching by Raphael is now visible on close 
examination in some rancid-looking spots on the body 
of the infant Jesus, where the varnish had accidentally 
been left rather thick by the pencil of the master. To 
these instances may be added the evidence of Mar- 
cucci,* of Palmaroli,' of Requeno,* of Merim6e,* of 
Sampieri,' of the professor mentioned by Lanri, who 
restored a picture by Correggio, and of the other pro- 
fessors now living who have been already mentioned in 
this work. While, however, these authorities appear to 
leave no doubt as to the adoption by the Italians, during 
the best period of the art, of varnish with colours on 
certain parts of the picture, the assertion of Boschini,'' 
that in painting flesh the Venetians abhorred like the 
plague all lustrous or shining surfaces, must not be 

^ Gtialandi, Metnorie, ser. 1. p. 29* This picture was purchased, with 
62 otfaer celebrated paintings, by Auguetoe III., King of Poland and 
Elector of Saxony, for 40,000 Roman scudi, and was taken to Dresden by 
Giovannini. It was restored by Sig. P. Palmaroli, the author of the Notes 
to Marcucci*s Observations on the Practice of Painting in Oil of the Floren- 
tine, Venetian, end Flemish Schools of Painting in their best time. 

^ Saggio, &c., p. 222, &c. ^ Notes to Marcucci, Saggio, &c. 

* Saggio sul Ristabilimento dell* Antico Arte de* Greci e Romani Pit- 
tori, vol. i. p. 169, n. * De la Peinture k THuile, p. xvii. n. xx» 

^ See Lanzi, Storia Pittorica, ed. of Pisa, 1823, note 15 by Boni. 

'' Ricche Minere. 

cclxxx INTRODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

overlooked. This assertion, as far as regards the solid 
painting, is generally supported by the direction in die 
Marciana MS.,^ to grind and temper the colours with 
oil as stiff as possible, and if they were too stiff to 
dilute them by dipping the brush in oil, as well as by 
the evidence of the professors of the art now living at 
Venice, The latter appear to consider that oil only 
was used in the solid painting, and that the varnish was 
reserved for the glazing and finishing colours, and es- 
pecially for such as would be injured by admixture 
with oil, such as red lead, cenere azzurre, and oliiers. 

The same may also be observed with regard to the 
later Bolognese school ; and this appears to have been 
the opinion of Lanzi, who, in describing the manner of 
Lo Spagnuolo, says that ^^he used gums in painting 
(per colorire) in the same way as others used them in 
glazing." The Farmasan school are also stated to have 
painted in the same manner — namely, the solid colours 
with oil, and the glazing colours with varnish. 

The present state of a picture by Tintoretto in the 
Casa Barbarigo at Venice is instructive as to the 
practice of this artist The surface of the picture 
alluded to is generally dull, as if the varnish had been 
removed or worn o^ with the exception of certain dark 
parts, and of the foliage, which are glossy, as if these 
colours had been mixed with varnish. 

Of Varnishing Pictures. 

Pictures painted in the Flemish manner, or finished 
with colours mixed with varnish, did not require the 
superposition of varnish when complete, and we find 
that even in the time of Lebrun and Lana the cus- 
tom of varnishing finished pictures was not universal. 
The latter remarks (p. 165), " when the painting is 
finished, some painters are accustomed to varnish it, in 

I P. 627. 


order that the work may appear more smooth and 
brilliant.*' And Lebrun/ after directing white of egg 
to be spread over the picture to preserve it from dust 
and fly-marks, adds, " when necessary, the picture may 
be cleaned by passing a wet cloth over it, which easily 
removes the white of egg, with the dust attached to it.* 
This," he adds, *^ could not be done with varnish.** 
These passages, therefore, may be considered evidence 
of the truth of V asari's statement that pictures painted 
according to the process invented by Van Eyck re- 
quired no varnish. It may also be collected from an 
expression of Vasari's, in his account of Giovan Fran- 
cesco Caroti,* that the biographer disapproved of 
varnishing pictures ; he says, " Caroti was of opinion, 
and in this he was not far from the truths that var- 
nishing pictures spoiled them, and made them appear 
old sooner than they otherwise would do." 

The fact that pictures were generally varnished is, 
however, too well authenticated to require any proof. 

On the Preparation of the Grounds. 

There is nothing, perhaps, on which the durability of 
a picture so much depends as on the goodness of the 
ground ; and at the same time there is, perhaps, no part 
of a picture on which the opinions of artists have been 
so much divided as on the manner of preparing the 
grounds ; some painters preferring white grounds, others 
dark grounds ; some electing to /paint on absorbent 
grounds, others on non-absorbent grounds ; while others 
reject all preparations but a coat or two of size to fill up 
the pores of the wood, or the holes of the canvass. 

The subject of the preparation of panels and canvass 
forms an important part of most of the old treatises. 

The earliest paintings in oil were generally executed 

1 P. 816. ' See the disadvantages of white of egg as a varnish 

described in a letter by Hackert, 1788. ^ Vita di Fra Giocondo cd aitri. 

cclxxxii INTRODUCTION. [cha^. ▼!* 

on panels. The panels were composed of various pieces 
of wood cemented together with cheese glue, and this 
glue caused them to adhere so firmly together, that 
such panels were considered stronger than those which 
consisted of one piece of wood only. Strips of linen 
were usually glued over the joinings of the panels, and 
in some cases the panel was entirely covered with linen. 
Animal glue was used for this purpose. 

Several coats of warm glue, which filled up the pores 
of the wood, were then to be applied. 

The Italian name for the next process is ingessaare} 
This consisted in the application of several thin coats 
of size * and gesso marcio^ over the surfece of the panel, 
which when dry was carefully smoothed with a knife or 
pumice stone. 

Upon this preparation the old tempera painters were 
accustomed to apply a coat of Armenian bole mixed 
with glue, on which they spread leaf gold ; a practice 
which, though gradually discontinued, was sometimes 
adopted in oil-painting, and was occasionally practised 
in Italy/ In Flanders the practice was continued to a 
comparatively late period. The gold ground was con- 
sidered to give great brilliancy to the colours.^ 

This practice, however, was not universal; Ac 
grounds were more frequently left white ; but in this 
state they would absorb the oil firom the colours applied 

1 See Bol. MS., p. 595. Vasari, Int., cap. xx., xxi. Cennini, cap.cxT. 

s The darability of the painting depends mach on the glue bdng employed 
of the proper strength. It is better that it should be too weak than too 
strong. See Volpato MS., p. 728, 732; Bol. MS., p. 595; Palomino, 
vol. ii. p. 47. 

3 Plaster of Paris stirred with water until it loses its power of setdng.— 
Third Report of the Commissioners on the Fine Arts, p. 47, n. CenDioi, 
cap. cxvi. Other writers call the plaster " gesso sottile.** 

4 Zanetti states (Delle Pittura Veneziana, p. 194) that some pictaresby 
Paolo Veronese, in the Fondaco de' Tedeschi at Venice, are executed on 
gilt leather. 

» See Baldinucd, Vite de' Pittori, vol. vi. p. 202. 


on them, unless prevented by the application of several 
coats of size, varnish, boiled oiV or of colour mixed 
with oil * — practices which prevailed generally in Italy 
during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth cen- 
turies, except in Venice, where some artists used ab- 
sorbent grounds, as will be hereafter noticed; the 
painters of the other schools, however, adhered to the 
general practice of employing white and non*absorbent 

The use of linen for grounds is considered to have 
been an invention of the Germans or Flemings, and by 
them introduced into Italy.' The canvass prepared by 
the Flemings was in great repute in the time of Bor- 
ghini, for the facility with which it could be rolled 
without cracking.* 

The Venetians are generally considered to have been 
the first among the Italians who adopted the custom of 
painting on canvass, on which they were able to execute 
larger paintings than they could on wood, and which 
combined the advantages of lightness, cheapness, and 
portability. The practice, however, necessarily caused 
an alteration in the nature of the ground, which on 
canvass was required to be composed of pliant and 
elastic materials, not liable to crack or be detached 
when the canvass was rolled up ; and this has always 
been found a great difficulty. 

Great diversity of opinion exists among writers on 

} Merim^, de laPeintare k THnile, p. 15 ; Lanzi, toI. W. p. 71 n. 

* Vaaari, Int. , cap. zxi. Armenini, lib. ii. ctp. ix. The colour usually 
employed for thia purpose was a warm tint incliuing to yellow or flesh 
colour ; it sometimes consisted of yellow 'H;hre, or minium ground in oil. 
Fra Bartolomeo is said to hate used sometimes one, and sometimes the 
other of these colours. See Marcucd, Saggio, &c., p. 218. 

s Painted cloth as a substitute for window glass, and waters for painting 
on linen, silk, or woollen, are mentioned in the Bolognese MS., pp. 491, 
493. It is probable that the latter were for articles of dress or the hanging 
of rooms. 

Riposo, p. 136. 

cclxxxiv introduction; [cHAy. Tt. 

painting as to the most eligible mode of preparing can- 
vass ; and several processes are recorded as having been 
employed by good artists. In general the coats of 
gesso were omitted on cloth/ it being considered that 
they were liable to crack when the picture was rolled. 

Vasari recommends that three or four coats of size 
should be applied, and upon them a mixture composed 
of flour paste with nut oil, and a little white lead, 
should be spread with a knife and smoothed with the 
hand, so as to fill up all the holes ; then one or two 
other coats of weak size should be applied, and lastly 
the priming. Armenini also recommends several 
coats of glue, one of which was to be applied on the 
back of the canvass. The same author states' that 
" painters were in the habit of filling up the holes of 
the canvass with a mixture composed of flour paste, and 
a third part of white lead, before the glue was applied. 
On this preparation the priming, which consisted of 
white lead, giallolino, and terra di campane, or of ver- 
digris, white lead, and umber, was spread. But the 
preparation he especially recommended was a light 
flesh colour inclining to the colour of flame, by means of 
the varnish, of which rather more than the usual quantity 
was to be added, because it was observed that " this 
added to the eflect of the colours, especially the blues 
and reds, without causing them to change ; for," con- 
tinues Armenini, ^^it is known that oil darkens and 
sullies all the colours, which appear soiled and dirty 
in proportion to the darkness of the ground beneath 
them." He adds that those who were desirous that the 
colours should not change firom the effects of time, 
made the grounds almost entirely of white lead, adding 
to them a sixth part of varnish, and a little red, and 
when this was dry they polished the surface, upon 

1 See Vasari, Int, cap. xxiii. Armenini, lib. ii. cap. viii. 

s Lib. ii. cap. ix. 


which they either drew or traced the outlines. In a 
note to this passage, Signor Palmaroli ^ observes that 
he has sometimes fomid in grounds ochre or red lead 
mixed with the gesso, upon which was laid a coat of 
oil diluted with spirit of turpentine, applied with a 
piece of cotton or a sponge. 

Borghini states* that the Flemish canvass, which 
could be easily rolled and carried everywhere, was 
prepared simply with one or two coats of size, and that 
it was then coloured, taking care to fill the holes of the 
cloth with the colours. He also recommends ' one coat 
of size and two of priming, particularly if the canvass 
was to be rolled and removed to another country. He 
mentions that canvass was sometimes prepared by ap- 
plying a coat of gesso and flour, boiled in linseed oil. 
Other authors recommend a priming of potter's earth * 
mixed with oil, and applied upon a coat of size or flour 
paste.* Pacheco* mentions a mixture of flour paste, 
salad oil,^ and a little honey ; and when this application 
was quite dry, and had been smoothed with pumice- 
stone, then a coat or two of priming was applied. 
Other painters, he states, first apply size made firom the 
parings of leather, then a coat of sifled ashes instead 
of gesso, which after being smoothed with pumice- 
stone was covered with the priming of almUgra (a. red 
earth), ground with linseed oil ; these grounds, Pacheco 
says, were used at Madrid. Another kind of priming, 
according to the same author, was composed of white 
lead, red lead, charcoal black, and linseed oil upon the 
gesso ground. Pacheco, however, disapproved of all 
these methods : he says, " I know by experience that 

1 Notes to Marcucci, Saggio, &c., p. 207. * Riposo, p. 136. 

s Ibid., p. 138. 4 This earth was called by the Italians Ter- 

retta, Terra di Cave, Terra da Boccale. 

6 Volpato, p. 730. « Tratado, p. 883. 

^ Palomino (vol. ii. p. 46) says linseed oil should be used, and not 
salad oil, which is prejudicial to the picture. 

eclxxxvi introduction: [chap. ti. 

flour-paste, gesso, and ashes are, in time, affected by 
damp, and that they decay, together with the canvass ;*' 
and he finally recommends the application of a few coats 
of size, and then two coats of priming, composed of the 
potter's clay * used at Seville, ground up with Unseed 
oil, each coat being polished with pumice-stone when 
dry. Upon this was spread a third coat, to which a 
little white-lead might be added or not, at pleasure. He 
observes, that although weak size made the cloth more 
supple, it might be omitted. This, Facheco states, is 
the best kind of priming, and that which he always used 
himself; because he had remarked that the six pictures 
which he began in 1600, in the cloisters belonging to 
the monastery of the Order of Mercy, on this kind of 
ground, were in good preservation when he wrote his 
work (which was published in 1649), and showed no 
symptoms of scaling off. 

The directions given by Palomino^ resemble so 
nearly those of Pacheco that it is useless to repeat 
them. It may, however, be observed that the former 
mentions that in Andalusia canvass was frequently 
primed with a kind of clay, washed up by the rivers 
when they rose; or, if this could not be had, with 
chalk, which was ground up with almagra : adding to 
it, when ground, some old colours (those which are 
cleaned from the palette and brushes'), if. they could be 
obtained, or in default of this a dark colour, called 
sombre del Viejo, should be added to assist the drying, 
the clay and chalk being bad dryers. 

The custom of using gesso grounds on cloth was, 
however, never entirely abandoned,* and, among other 

artists, they were used by Bassano. With regard to the 

_iiii. 1 ---,..- ■ .. — — — ■ — . — 

1 Called at Madrid '* Tierra de Esquivias*' (Palomiao, toI. ii. p. 48), pro- 
bably similar to the Terra da Boccale of tbe Italians. 

» Vol. ii. p. 46—48. » See Volpato, p. 733. 

4 See Armenini, lib. ii. cap. viii. Borghini, p. 138. Pacheco, p. 383, 


pictures of this artist, Yolpato mentions having re- 
marked that those painted on grounds prepared with a 
small quantity of gesso were in good condition, while 
the colours scaled off those pictures on which much had 
been used. The directions given by Volpato ^ as to the 
preparation of grounds need not be alluded to here, as 
they are contained in the work. 

To return to the gesso grounds : it is asserted that 
they were used also by the Bolognese painters, Sam- 
acchini, Sabbatini, and Tibaldi, both on canvass and 
panels. Correggio also is said to have prepared his 
canvass with a very thin coat of size and gesso, over 
which he laid a coat of boiled oil.* 

As to the colour of the priming, the weight of au- 
thority is in &vour of white grounds.^ Mr. Eastlake 
observes (Goethe on Colours, p. 378), " the secret of 
Van Eyck and his contemporaries is always assumed to 
consist in the vehicle (varnish or oils) he employed ; 
but a far more important condition of the splendour of 
colour of the works of those masters was the careful 
preservation of internal light by painting thinly, but 
ultimately with great force, on white grounds » As an 
additional argument in favour of white grounds, it may 
be stated that modern Italian artists are now so con- 
vinced of the propriety of employing them, that they 
have almost all returned to the use of them. When I 
was in Italy, I was informed that the Academy of 
Parma had recently decided against the authenticity of 
a picture attributed to Correggio, because it was painted 
on a red ground ; the Academicians considering that 
none but white grounds were in yse during the life of 

1 Volpato, p. 729 — ^733. * Lanzi, vol. iv. p. 71 and n. 

s See Lionardo da Vinci, Trattato, cap. c. ; Du Fresnoy, Art of Paiot- 
ing, with the Commentary of De Piles ; Oreini, Vita di Pietro Peni- 
gino ; Algarotti, Lettere sopra la Pittura, vol. viii. p. 50, 51, Venezia, 1792 ; 
Delaval on Colours ; and Quatrem^re de Quincy, Life of Rafiaelle. 

cclxxxviii INTRODUCTION. [cmaf. vx. 

this artist. There is, however, some diversity of opinion 
as to the expediency of their being non-absorbent. 

Sometimes the grounds were prepared by giving the 
canvass a few coats of glue only, without other priming.* 
The paintings by Callot, at Venice, are prepared in this 
way ; and a picture by Lionardo da Vinci, or one of 
his scholars, mentioned by Amoretti, and in the pos- 
session of Signor Mussi, is executed on canvass pre- 
pared with size only.* Pictures so prepared stand weil« 
Pozzo, the Jesuit, also painted on the same grounds, 
but his pictures are much changed, probably from other 
causes ; for F^libien remarks ' that if the canvass were 
not primed at all, but painted on at once, the colours 
would bear out better and remain more brilliant 

Various grounds were in use in the Venetian school. 
A Venetian professor communicated, among other par- 
ticulars, the following information as the result of his 
experiments on the grounds of the old Venetian pic- 
tures : — " The grounds were made of gesso and very 
weak size ; sometimes a little black^ was added by Gian 
Bellino and others. Over this were laid one or two 
coats of glue to prevent the ground being too absorbent ; 
the glue was made of the parings of leather-'' This 
information was confirmed by other professors of Venice 
and Verona. 

With respect to the grounds used by Titian, I was 
informed that this great artist employed a ground of 
"gesso marcio,"* taking especial care not to use too 
much glue, and that this slightly absorbent ground was 
useful in getting rid of some of the oil. It is certain, 

^ Palomino, vol. ii. p. 45. 

2 Amoretti, Memorie Storiche di Lionardo da Vinci, p. 165. 

3 Principes, &c., p. 297. 

4 These grey grounds were also used in the Flemish school. The series 
of pictures by Rubens of the life of Mary de' Medicis are painted on a grey 

5 Compare Merim^e, de la Peinture k THuile, p. 241 j De Piles, £1^- 
mens de Peinture, p. 130. 


however, that Titian sometimes employed a non- 
absorbent ground, since a restorer of pictures at Verona 
stated that he had found on the gesso-ground a coat 
of strong glue, made of pig's skin (much used in the 
Venetian territories), which was very hard and shining, 
and on which the picture was painted. This was pro- 
bably the case with Titian's picture of S. Pietro Martire, 
which, when at Paris, was transferred from panel to 
canvass. The author of the * Histoire de la Peinture 
en Italie,' * who was present at the operation, remarks, 
" I observed that the ground and the painting were not 
consolidated together, but were laid one upon the 

Titian is said sometimes to have used a red ground 
made of terra rossa with size, and Merim^e mentions 
that, on analysing the ground of a picture by Titian, he 
found flour-paste and gesso, but no glue.' 

Tintoretto is stated to have painted his celebrated 
Crucifixion in the Scuola of S. Bocco on a simple pre- 
paration of flour-paste, and this picture is in excellent 
preservation. Many painters, and especially Volpato, 
Pacheco, and Palomino, object to the flour paste. The 
reason assigned by Volpato is, that if the paste is too 
stifle, it causes the colour to scale off; and if too weak, 
the picture is liable to. decay from damp. He states, 
also, that it was frequently used by those who primed 
bad canvass, which would decay in a few years, 
because it was useful in filling up the threads of the 

Paul Veronese generally painted on a twilled canvass, 

1 M. B. A. A., Paris, 1817. 

s Merim^, de ia Peinture k I'Huile, p. 241. On this subject Boschini 
(La Carta del Navegar, &c. p. 839) says — 

" La prontezza ze meterse davanti 
Una gran tela, e de farina propria 
Tamiaar, e impastar figure in copia, 
£ senza natural, iar casi tanti." 

VOL. 1. t 

ccxc INTRODUCTION. [chat, tu 

called in Venice " terlise,** which he prepared with a 
very thin coat of glue and gesso ; so thin as to show the 
texture of the cloth through the paint This coaf^ 
being absorbent,' imbibed the superfluous oil which 
darkened the threads of the canvass. 

Sig. Pietro Edwards, whose opportunities of ex- 
amining pictures of the Venetian school were perhaps 
greater than ever fell to the lot of any other person, has 
recorded his opinion that these grounds were best 
adapted to ensure the durability of paintings ; and in 
support of this opinion he instances the three pictures 
by Paolo Veronese, representing the legend of Sta- 
Cristina, which were executed, with very few re- 
paintings, either on a ground of gesso not hardened 
by strong size, or on canvass, with a thin coating of 
gesso, the colours of which were, he says, so fredi tiiat 
they appeared to have been painted but two days instead 
of two hundred years.* 

The same favourable opinion of white tempera 
grounds is expressed by De Piles ;' but he adds that 
they have the disadvantage of being liable to crack when 
rolled up. This was the case with the celebrated Nosze 
di Cana by Paolo Veronese, which, on its arrival at 
Paris, was found to be in such a state as to render it 
necessary to line it with great care in order to prevent 
its scaling entirely from the canvass. This operation, 
with some necessary reparations, was performed at the 
Louvre with all requisite care and attention. But when, 
in 1815, the picture was about to be restored to Venice, 
according to the treaty, it was perceived that tiie cdours 
crumbled off and fell into dust at the slightest movement 
To continue the operation, therefore, was to expose one 
of the finest works of the Venetian school to certain 
destruction ; and the committee decided that the picture 

1 See the Dissertation of Sig. Pietro Edwards, p. 887, 888. 
> See p. 888. > El^mens, p. 131. 


of Paolo should remain at Paris, and that a painting of 
Lebrun's should be sent to Venice in its stead.* 

Absorbent grounds of size and gesso are considered 
to have been employed by the Parmasan school. 

Various contrivances were resorted to in order to pre- 
vent the cracking of pictures when the canvass was rolled. 
Some artists added honey and oil to the preparation of 
size and gesso f but the Venetian artists are stated tradi- 
tionally to have used milk for this purpose. All writers 
speak of the necessity of the grounds on canvass being 
thin, as a means of preventing their cracking. 

With regard to the use of white lead in the priming, 
the general opinion seems to be that it is injurious. It 
has been stated that any picture in which white lead 
was used in the grounds would infallibly crack in less 
than fifty years ; and that pictures painted on a ground 
of white lead and oil would moreover turn brown. The 
pictures of Longhi (born in 1702, and living in 1762) 
are in good preservation, with the exception of the 
grounds, which are full of large cracks, attributed by 
the Italian restorers to the use of white lead in the 
grounds. Neither Palomino, Pacheco, Borghini, Vol- 
pato, nor Lebrun recommend white lead in the prepa- 
ration of the grounds. Vasari and Armenini and some 
few modem painters, on the contrary, are in favour of it 

1 This account was given by the French painter M. Camille Rogier to 
Sig. Cigogna, who inserted it in his * Iscrizioni Veneziane,' vol. iv. p. 328. 

It may not be uninteresting to the reader to know that the sum received 
by Paolo for painting this picture was 324 ducats, and not 90, as asserted by 
Algarotti. The original contract, with the signature of Paolo, is preserved 
among the papers belonging to the Monastery of S.Giorgio Maggiore at Venice. 
It has been copied and published by Sig. £. A. Cigogna in the 4th volume 
of the * Iscrizioni Veneziane.' It may also be interesting to know that the 
date of the contract was the 6th of June, 1562; and the day on which Paolo 
gave his receipt for the money, on the completion of the picture, was the 6th 
of October, 1663 : so that the picture was begun and finished in 16 months. 

s Pacheco, p. 383 ; Palomino, vol. ii. p. 47 ; and see Ballard's Traitd de 
Mignature, p. 220. Salmon's Polygraphices, p. 80. Marcucci, Saggio, &c., 
p. 205, n. 



The Carracci are said to have used white lead in their 
grounds. " The only priming used by Ludovico was a 
slight coat of white lead and ochre, with sufficient oil 
to ensure a smooth surface, and he made use of this 
priming as a shadow colour. Annibale, his cousin, 
sometimes used a mixture of * creta ' and white lead 
for his grounds. Guercino instead of * creta' em- 
ployed marble dust ; and with this his pictures in his 
first manner are thinly primed ; in the second manner 
the priming is thicker." 

Some artists, and especially Guido, painted occa- 
sionally on silk, which was thought to be more durable 
than linen cloth. It was frequently prepared for paint* 
ing by applying a coat of size, to which a little honey 
was added to prevent its cracking, and on this the 
priming was laid.^ 

Pictures were frequently painted on copper, and in 
this case the only preparation necessary was a coat of 
glue, which prevented the oil from acting on the colours. 

The introduction of dark grounds into Bologna is 
attributed to the Carracci. They were introduced into 
Venice by Palma Giovane, who has been called the last 
of the good Venetian painters, and the first of the bad. 

On a careful examination of the different authorities, 
it appears that pictures painted on a ground of gesso are 
the most durable, but that when this material is used on 
canvass the greatest care is necessary to prevent its 
cracking. It also appears that when the surface of the 
gesso ground has been polished quite smooth with 
pumice-stone, one or two coats of glue made from pig's 
skin, and perhaps a coat of varnish or oil, if the picture 
is to be painted in the Flemish manner, should be 
applied to prevent absorption. But if the Venetian 
manner of painting is pursued, the thin distemper ground 
used by Paolo Veronese is considered best adapted to 

1 Ballard's Traits dc Mignature, p. 229. 


promote the durability of the picture. The great re- 
quisites in grounds for canvass are thinness, whiteness, 
and flexibility, and a perfectly smooth surface. 

Methods of Painting. 

In examining the technical processes of oil-painting 
in the North of Italy, it will be seen that they arrange 
themselves under two great divisions : in the first, which 
may be called the Flemish process, the picture was 
begun in chiaroscuro, and finished with the local colours ; 
in the second, or Italian process, which was introduced 
in the beginning of the sixteenth century, the picture 
was commenced with the local colours painted solidly 
with oil, white being introduced into the cool grey or 
bluish shadows, and was finished with warm glazings. 
The former system was generally adopted in Lombardy 
and Bologna ; the latter in Venice, where it originated : 
but this arrangement was not without exceptions, and in 
later times the Venetian method was preferred to the 
Flemish, which has almost fallen into disuse and ob- 
livion iii Italy. Both methods, however, imderwent 
various modifications according to the genius or the 
caprice of the different professors of painting, and so 
great was the diversity in the technical habits of the 
Italian painters, that the pictures of the same artist are 
frequently found to have been painted in various man- 
ners and with diflerent materials. Thus Titian is said 
to have changed his method several times, and Bequeno 
relates ^ that he has seen pictures by Guercino in some 
of which oil only had been used, in others oil and pece 
Greca, and in others resins and gums. The fimda- 
mental principle in all may, however, be traced to one 
or other of the above-mentioned sources. 

In the early period of painting in oil the same pro- 

1 Saggi sul Ristabilimento, &c., vol. i. p. 169, n. 

CCXciv INTEODUCTION. [chap. vi. 

cess of painting was observed throughout Italy, as well 
as in Flanders and Germany. The process may be 
thus briefly described : — 

The ground being properly prepared, the next process 
was to draw the subject of the picture. This was fre- 
quently done with black chalk or black-lead pencil, but 
in order to insure greater correctness the subject was 
frequently traced in the usual way from a drawing on 
paper. Baroccio always adopted the latter method,^ and 
the outlines deeply indented, as if with a style, may be 
seen in a large unfinished picture by him in the library 
of the Archiginnasio at Bologna. The outline was then 
secured by marking over it with a brown colour (as in 
the unfinished picture by Lionardo da Vinci in the gal- 
lery of Brera at Milan), or with a tint composed of car- 
mine and dark ochre." 

When describing the different kinds of grounds used 
in painting, I have mentioned that a coat of size, of 
varnish, or of boiled oil was applied upon the gesso 
ground to render it non-absorbent ;* but Mr. Eastlake 
has proved ^ that the outline was occasionally, at least, 
drawn before this last application, and the coating of 
size or the warm transparent oil priming was spread 
over the outline. It is probable that this plan was 
adopted in the Venetian school, and it may be observed 
that sketches by Tintoretto are still in existence which 
were begun in chiaroscuro with water colours, and then 
oiled, the local colours being aflerwards painted in 
their places with oil. To this instance may be added 
the passage quoted by Walpole* from the Pocket-book 
of Mr. Beale, in which it is mentioned that Lely " ap- 

1 See Bellori, Vite de' Pittori, p. 117. Lanri, vol. ii. p. 124. 

> Palomino, vol. ii. p. 67, 59. 

3 The present state of many of the pictures of Luini and other artists 
proves beyond a doubt that the ground on which they were painted was non- 
absorbent. The colours having in some parts scaled off, leave visible the 
white ground unstained with oil, and of dazzling whiteness. 

< * Materials,' &c., p. 384. * Anecdotes, vol. iii. p. 129. 


prehending the colour of the cloth on which he painted 
i^as too light) before he began to lay on the flesh colour, 
he glazed the whole place where the face and haire were 
drawn in a colour over thin, with Cullen's earth, and a 
little bone black (as he told us) made very thin with 
varnish.** The practice does not, however, appear to 
have been universal in Italy, especially when the priming 
was opaque or nearly so, since Vasari, Borghini, 
Armenini, and his copyist Bisagno direct the design 
to be traced or drawn upon the priming. Perhaps 
it may not be far from the truth to suppose that 
when the priming was transparent it was spread over 
the outline ; but when it was opaque the outline was 
drawn on it. 

The subject having been outlined with ink, or black 
and lake, or brown, the picture was begun in chiaro- 
scuro by washing in the shadows lightly with the same 
colour, like a drawing in Indian ink, and it was suffered 
to dry. This practice is alluded to incidentally by 
writers on painting, and especially by Paolo Pino,^ 
where he objects to painters designing their pictures with 
such extreme diligence, composing the whole in chiaro- 
scuro according to the custom of Gian Bellino, for this, 
he observes, was labour thrown away, as the whole 
had afterwards to be covered with colours, &c. Yasari 
mentions ' that Fra Bartolomeo di S. Marco was partial 
to this method of painting, and Malvasia,' speaking of 
Tiarini, relates that he commenced his pictures in chiaro- 
scuro with white lead and bone black, and then covered 
them with colours and finished with glazings. The 
custom is also mentioned by Pacheco,* who did not 
approve of it 

When the chiaroscuro had been painted with black, 
or when the white ground had been covered with a grey 

1 Dialogo, f. 16. * Vita di Fra Bartolomeo di S. Marco. 

9 Felaina Pittrice, yoI. ii. p. 206. « Tratado, p. 386. 

ccxcvi INTEODUCTION. [chat. vi. 

preparation, as in some of the pictures of Gian Bellino 
and Rubens, the artist proceeded to paint the flesh tints.* 
But where the chiaroscuro was of a rich brown, it was 
necessary to interpose grey tints between the shades and 
the flesh tints. The latter, which were made more rosy 
than nature, were then laid on very thinly, beginning 
with the lights and proceeding gradually with deeper 
and redder tints into the shades,* laying each tint ia its 
place and not tormenting it with the brush. 

The next tints, which were also very thin, had more 
yellow in them, and the last coat of colours was also 
thin, and contained more white, and with this the flesh 
was toned to match the complexion. The number of 
coats of colour is not to be understood as limited to 
three.' Titian is said to have repeated his colours 
nine or ten times; the same has been said of Correggio ; 
and it is mentioned on the authority of Mr. Beale/ 
that Lely said he believed Vandyck had painted over a 
portrait fourteen times. This method of painting keeps 
the flesh light and clear, because it permits the white 
grounds to appear through it.* Different colours were 
used for the shadows of flesh : some artists employed a 
mixed tint of black, lake, and some transparent yellow, 
or yellow varnish. Armenini says that asphaltum, 
mummy, and the smoke of pece Greca were commonly 
used for this purpose. Lomazzo names • terra di cam- 

I Even where the chiaroscuro has been dark brown, the scumbliogofthe 
thin flesh tints over it has produced the effect of grey. — See Mr. Sheldrake's 
Paper, in the Transactions of the Soc. of Arts, vol. xvi. For the eflect of 
darkness seen through a semi-transparent medium, see Goethe on Colours, 
by Mr. Eastlake, Nos. 151, 160. 

* See Lomazzo, Trattato, lib. vi. cap. vi. 

' Vasari mentions incidentally that Pietro Perugino had laid three coats 
of colour on some pictures in the Church of the Send at Florence. See 
Life of Pietro Perugino. 

* See Extracts from Mr. Beale's Pocket-books, quoted by Walpole, 
Anecdotes, vol. iii. p. 125. 

^ As to the lights in early oil paintings being semi-opaique, see Mr. East- 
lake's * Materials,' &c., p. 408. « Trattato, p. 191. 


pana, umber (which he calls also falzalo), burnt terra 
verde, asphaltum, and mummy. The Paduan MS.^ 
mentions umber, burnt terra verde, and asphaltum ; and 
in another place,' lake, minium, and umber. Other 
artists used for the outlines and shadows umber and 
lake.* Pacheco mentions * bone-black, umber, charcoal- 
black, or smoke [of burnt resin], asphaltum, almagra, 
and carmine. In this method of painting it will be 
ohserved that the shadows are transparent, and that the 
white-lead is reserved for the lights, which are semi- 

It appears to have been the general practice of the 
Italian painters, from Giotto to Lomazzo, to mix their 
tints before beginning to paint. The instructions of 
Cennini* and Lomazzo® are full and precise on this 
point. The custom of mixing tints on the palette was 
not, however, universal, and instances of the opposite 
practice may be found in works on art.'' 

The method of painting above described appears to 
have been followed by the Florentine, the Roman, the 
Lombard, the early Bolognese,® and the early Venetian 
schools. Titian's earliest pictures were painted in this 
manner, and the process may be seen on some unfinished 
pictures by Rubens, Vandyck, Fra Bartolomeo, and 

The beauty of this method of painting consisted in 
its transparency, every coat of colour being so thin as to 
show those laid beneath. 

The most perfect outline is necessary when pictures 
are painted in the method just described, because if a 
part be shaded that ought to be light, the dark colour 

1 P. 660. « P. 664. 

3 See MalTasia, Felsina Pittrice, vol. ii. p. 448 ; Lomazzo, Trattato, 
p. 19«. * Tratado, p. 886. » Caps. 67, 71—86, 98, 146. 

8 Trattato, lib. vi. cap. vi. 7 See Zanetti, della Pittura, &c., p. 401. 

8 See Marcucci, Saggio, &c., p. 213. Malvasia, Pels. Pitt., vol. ii. 
p. 206. Merimde, de la Peinturc k THuile, p. 16, 16. 


will always be visible through the light tints over it, and 
the colour will look opaque.^ 

The unfinished picture by Lionardo da Vinci in the 
Gallery of Brera, before mentioned, shows that it was 
not always customary to complete the chiaroacaro 
before beginning the painting. In this picture, some 
parts are finished, or nearly so, while parts of the ground 
are left white.* 

& See Marcucd, Saggio, &c., p. 218 and n. ; and see Mr. Eastlake^a 
* Materials/ &c., p. 397, 398. 

s This very interesting picture has been mentioned by Mr. Eastlake 
(' Materials,' p. 392), but as I have alluded to it several times, I shall give a 
description of it from my own memoranda : — The picture represents the 
Virgin and Child with the Lamb. It is painted on a white ground, whick 
has a yellowish tint, apparently from being covered with varnish. The 
ground is full of small hair-like cracks. The subject u drawn with a black 
penciL The sky and distance are finished with blue and white, with a 
slight greenish tint There is a rock behind the igures, the colour of 
which, with the earth around, is of a very dark brown, probably formed of 
black and migorica and a little lake.* A space between the distance and 
rocky ground is left quite blank, the white ground appearing. The face 
of the Virgin is more finished than the rest of the picture ; it was ap» 
parently begun in chiaroscuro with the usual brown — the gray shades 
incline to black, tiie lights on the face to lake. The face of the Inftnt 
is nearly finished. The hands are just sketched in lightly with the same 
brown, and the first flesh tints are laid on almost as thin u a first wash of 
water colours. The same may be observed with respect to the toes: the 
black pdhciUmarks are visible on the nails. The drapery, which is scarlet, 
appears to be formed of earthy reds, with vermilion on the lights. The 
outer drapery is red also, and is lined with a yellowish green, or perhaps 
this was to be a changeable drapery, since the shades are red and the 
lights green. These were Lionardo's favourite colours for drapery. The 
sleeves of the Virgin, part of the mantle^ indeed all that part coveriag 
her knees, part of the Inftmt's drapery, and the whole of the Lamb are left 
quite blank, excepting that the outline of her knee is marked in pencil. 
This shows that Lionardo sometimes finished portions of his pictures, leaving 
the rest untouched, instead of beginning en all parts equally, or even d 
painting the subject in chiaroscuro. The darks are raised higher than 
the lights, and the foliage is minutely worked on the dark background. My 
impression is that this picture was begun upon a non-absorbant white 

* See Lionardo da Vinci, Trattato della Pittura, cap. 853. Vasaii shows thtt 
the black osed by Lionaido was tiie lamp black used by the printeni, and ivcry 
black. See Vita di Francesco Bartolomeo di 8. Maroo. 


There is little doubt that the method of painting just 
described was discontinued in Venice in the early part 
of the sixteenth century. This is proved by the 
assertion of a professor of painting now residing at 
Venice, that Cima da Conegliano (of whom nothing is 
known after 15170 adopted the Venetian method of 
beginning his pictures witih solid colours, and finishing 
with glazings. In Florence the latter method had 
been introduced previous to the completion of Vasari's 

In the earliest oil pictures, the touches of the brush 
are not visible, the whole being softened and blended so 
as to convey the idea of real shadow, except the sharp 
touches, which stand up crisply and distinctly in a 
manner that cannot be imitated with oil alone. This 
is particularly apparent in the pictures of Van Eyck, 
Lucas Van Leyden, Lionardo da Vinci, Luini, and 
others of that time. 

At a later period the touches of the brush were often 
suffered to remain unsoftened ; but, in both cases, it is 
remarkable that, on close observation, the darks will be 
seen to stand higher above the surface of the picture 
than the lights : this effect is universally attributed to 
the use of varnish in the shades. 

Four different methods of painting in oil have, at 
different times, prevailed in Venice. The first was 
that just described, which was followed by the Bellini ' 
and their pupils, and by Titian in the early part of his 
career ; the second was that adopted by Titian in his 
best time, and by his pupils and followers ; the third 
was that employed by Paolo Veronese; and the last 
that introduced, it is said, by Falma Giovane, of paint- 
ground, and that the yellowish tint is owing to the varnish with which it 
has been covered. 

i See Ridolfi, vol. i. p. 101. * See Yasari, Ufe of Fra Bartolouico. 

'^ s See ante, p. cxxxiii. 

CCC INTRODUCTION. [chai-. ▼!, 

ing on dark grounds, to which, as it is considered to 
have led to the decline of the art, it will be unnecessary 
to advert. 

The pictures of Titian are not all painted in the 
same manner, but the method he frequently adopted 
was nearly as follows : — When the subject was drawn, 
the local colours were laid in lightly and thinly with 
colours mixed with oiV the shades being left very cold. 
The picture was then exposed to the sun and the dew 
until perfectly dry and hard ; a smooth surface was then 
given to it by rubbing it down with pumice-stone until 
quite smooth. 

After many months the dead or first colouring or 
ahhozzo^ as it is called in Italian, was examined and 
corrected, and fresh colours were laid on;* finishing 
colours were then applied, and the tints were frequently 
repeated seven, eight, or nine times,' until the artist was 
satisfied with his work, always however suffering a long 
period to elapse between each layer of colour, and 
exposing the picture to the sun and dew between each 
painting. The coats of colour being very thin, the 
colours dried quickly and hard, and, as the Venetians 
express it, before the oil had had time to become 
rancid/ Titian, it is said, frequently laid on the paint 
with his fingers, particularly on the flesh and in glazing. 

1 Lanziy vol. v. p. 89, 90 ; and see Boschini, Ricche Minere, &c. ; Yerri, 
Saggio 8ul Disegno, &c., p. 121, 127. Compare also Marcucd, Saggio, 
p. 213, n. * Boschini, Ricche Minere. 

' Soleva dir el nostro gran Tician " 

** Che per formar el vivo colorito, 
No* se possa a la prima (come h6 dito), 
Fenir le came con intendimento ; 
Ma ben con replicar diverse tente." 

Boschini, La Carta del Navegar, &c., p. 341. 
4 It is related that Bombelli, the Venetian painter, said that he wished 
his pictures to dry as fast as possible, that the oil in them might not have 
time to rise to the surface and turn yellow. See Trans. Soc. Arts, toL zix. 
p. 329. 


When large surfaces were to be glazed, the colour was 
frequently rubbed on with all the fingers or the flat of 
the hand, so as to fill the interstices left by the brush, 
and to cover the surface thinly and evenly. Another 
way of applying the colour with the finger, firequently 
used for the soft shadows of flesh, was to dip the finger 
into the colour and draw it once along the surface to be 
painted with an even movement These touches were 
called sfregazzij^ and were distinguished from the 
process first described, which was called "velatura," 
Trial will show that there is no other method by which 
soft shadows can be so easily produced. The reason 
given by the Venetians why the fingers are preferable 
to the brush for this purpose, is because the colour can 
be laid on thinner in this way, and it has the eflect of 
filling up all the interstices caused by the strokes of the 
brush. The thinness of the paint also contributed to the 
durability of the colours, because as the varnish or oil 
dried more quickly from the thinness of the layer of 
paint, the colours were preserved from being changed 
by the action of the air upon them. The shadows were 
glazed with asphaltum and lake, and Titian is said to 
have frequently glazed the whole surface of the picture, 
except the white linen, with asphaltum, or, as others 
say, with a yellow varnish. The glazings were generally 
laid on with varnish, although it is said that Titian 
sometimes used oil for this purpose, which is the reason 
that his paintings become more yellow than those of 
other painters. 

There is no doubt, however, that Titian used fre- 
quently an oleo-resinous varnish in glazing, and to this 

1 <* Quel rossi, e macadare de colori, 

Quel sfregazzi co* i* dei, quel spegazzar 

Fk le figare vive bulegar ; 

Quel le fk laser con mile splendori." 

Boechini, La Carta del Navegar, &c., p. 340. 


is attributed the shrivelled surface so often seen on 

Paolo Veronese laid in the abbozzo with the local 
colours thinly on a tempera ground; some say tiie 
colours were mixed with oil, others that they ^^ere 
applied in distemper.* When these were dry and hard 
the surface was rasped and smoothed, so as to leave 
only a thin coat of colour.^ On this he painted the 
solid colours, availing himself of a general colour for all 
the half tints, as well in the flesh as in the draperies and 
architecture.* After this he covered the whole with a 
very thin coat of varnish to bring out the colours, and 
then retouched the lights and shades with brilliant and 
resolute touches, using varnish for vermilion, red-lead, 

1 Merim^, de la Peinture k rHuUe, p. 81. Mr. Eastlake's ' Matcarkk,* 
&c., p. 37. 

At the public library at Brescia I was shown, among other curiosities, 
two small miniatures by Titian, painted one on each side of a piece of lapis 
lazuli, which served for the ground of the painting, a head of Christ on cne 
side, and of the Madonna oo the other. Two slight bjuries on the painting 
showed that there was no ground laid under the figures, but the surface 
round the parts injured looked like glue or resin semitransparent at the edges. 
I examined the painting with a powerful magaiiying glasa, and the surfaee, 
which was perfect, except in these two places, showed the oil shrivelled as 
in many of Titian's large pictures, the wrinkles in this picture bearing the 
same proportionate size to the miniature as those I have observed in his 
ItiTg&r pictures. 

I observed also in the head of our Saviour another remarkable appearanee 
when examined with the magnifying glass. This was the impression or ap- 
pearance (for we could not tell which) of threads of silk, so that 1 almost 
fancied it had been painted on ulk, and cut out and then fixed to the lapis 
lazuli. The surface of the painting had the usual yellowish brown cast, so 
frequently observed in Titian's paintings. 

* See Appendix to the Italian edition of the ' Id^ dn Feintre Fbrfait,' 
p. 163 ; and Fdlibien, Principes, &c., p. 297. Merimde (de la Peinture 
k THuile, p. 249) says that Paul Veronese, and before him other painters, 
who lived at the period when artists began to leave tempera for oil pamt^ 
ing, were accustomed to begin their pictures with size colours on absorbent 
grounds. All traditions of oil paintings having been begun in tempera ap- 
pear to be now lost in Venice. 

s Compare Armenini as to the general practice in Italy, lib. li. cap. ix. ; 
Bisagno, Trattato, &c. 

4 Boschini, Rioche Minere ; Zanetti, della Pittura, &c., p. 164. 


blues, the tints used in painting white linen, and for 
the vermilion tints in flesh* He frequently painted the 
blues in tempera, as in the picture in the Soffitto of the 
CoU^o of the Ducal Palace,^ in which the blue sky 
was painted in tempera, and the clouds with oil. These 
tempera colours are said to adhere so firmly that they 
will bear being twice washed without being disturbed. 
The method of Paolo is opposed to that of Titian. The 
former usually painted ^^ alia prima/' seldom repeating 
his colours ; and with few glazings.' Titian on the con* 
trary frequently painted over the same part seven, eight, 
or nine times. His pictures are neither so fresh nor so 
well preserved as those of Paolo.' 

After the time of Titian the art rapidly declined in 
Venice ; lai^e pictures and rapidity of execution super- 
seded the more sterling qualities of the art ; and the 
practice of glazing to an almost unlimited extent with 
asphaltum (for which Tintoretto is greatly blamed), 
the introduction of dark grounds,^ and the excessive use 
of oil, caused the pictures of succeeding painters to 
become dark. 

The honour of having re-discovered and made known 
some of the early processes of painting in oil, and of 
the principles which regulated the practice of the old 
masters, belongs to an Englishman, Mr. Sheldrake, 
whose Essays,^ little known in his own country, are 

^ This is proved by a document in the Accademia at Venice addressed 
hy Sig. P. Edwards to Sig.Savio Gassier, dated the 25th of August, 1780. 

s Bald., Life of Paolo Veronese ; Botehini, Ricche Minere. 

3 See p. 8S8. 

^ Marcucci (p. 201) attributes the darkening of the later Italian pictures 
to three causes, namely — ^first, the badness of the priming, either from being 
too absorbent or from the use of dark grounds ; secondly, the too free em- 
ployment of " olio cotlo ;" thirdly, the use of certain black pigments, which 
deepen in colour in a very short time. See alsoZanetti, della Pittura, &c., 
pp.374,401, 438, 628. 

^ These essays were entitled * A Dissertation on Painting in Oil in a 
manner similar to that practised in the ancient Venetian Schools ' — ' On 
the Nature and Properties of Drying Oik ' — ' On the Use of Amber Var- 


appreciated and quoted by foreigners. It is unnecessary 
to analyse these Essays ; it will be sufficient to recom- 
mend them strongly to the perusal of the reader, and 
to state generally, that Mr. Sheldrake considered that 
the method adopted by the Venetian masters was as 
follows: — The chiaroscuro was painted with umber 
on a tempera preparation, composed of umber, broken 
with red, yellow, or blue, diluted with chalk or whiten- 
ing to the proper degree of strength. A coat of varnish 
was then applied, and on this, when dry, the lights were 
painted solidly with pure white, scumbling it thinner 
by degrees until it united with the shadows. In diis 
manner the chiaroscuro was finished as much as pos- 
sible, and the local colour of every object glazed over 
it. The picture was then varnished. 

The general resemblance between this method and 
that first described as the Flemish or early Italian 
process is apparent. The principal variation consisted 
in the absorbent ground, and the solid painting with 
white on the lights, which was rendered necessary by 
the coloured priming. 

The method of Titian was, with certain modifica- 
tions, adopted by the other schools of Italy ; some 
artists, however, still continued to adhere to the older 
method. It is probable that the method of Titian was 
commonly adopted at Florence in the time of Vasari, 
for he mentions' that Fra Bartolomeo delighted in 
beginning his pictures in chiaroscuro, as if this custom 
of his was an exception to the general rule. This sup- 
position is strengthened by the short description of 

nish with Colours, and the Method of Dissolving Amber and Copal ' — * Con* 
jectures tending to show that these Vehicles were similar in Prindple, if 
not identically the same as that used by several of the older Painters who 
were eminent for their skill in Colouring ' — * An Account of the Process 
used to separate the Mucilage from Linseed Oil,' &c. These Essays, writ- 
ten between 1797 and 1801, were published in the Transactions of the So- 
ciety of Arts, vols, zvi., xvii., and six. 
1 Vita di Fra Bartolomeo di S. Marco. 


the process of oil-painting by Borghini, who was a 
Florentine, and who may be supposed to have been 
well acquainted with the works of that school. This 
author directs^ that when the first colours were laid in 
with as little oil as possible (for the oil in drying would, 
he says, cause the colours to darken), the picture 
should be laid aside for a long time, until the colours 
were perfectly dry ; it was then to be rigorously ex- 
amined, and the necessary corrections made, and then 
was to be applied the last coat of the finest colours 
tempered with very little oil, which would remain 
bright and lively ; for if the (iresh) colours were laid 
upon the dry dead colouring, the former would retain 
when dry all their beauty ; but if they were applied on 
the dead colouring before it was dry, the first and last 
colours would mix together, and the whole would be 
dusky and darkened, especially when the colours were 
made liquid with much oil, which detracts much from 
the brightness of the colours. It will be observed 
this author does not allude to the use of varnish in 

There is another reason why one layer of colours 
should be suffered to dry perfectly before another 
was applied ; namely, to prevent their cracking. Some 
of the early Italian artists, and particularly Pietro 
Perugino, appear to have bought their experience in this 
respect Several of the pictures of Pietro are stated to 
have suflered from this cause. With reference to some 
of these pictures, Vasari remarks, "These three pic- 
tures* are much injured, and the dark parts and shadows 
are everywhere cracked; and the reason of this is, 
because when they were painted, the first colour laid on 
the priming (for three coats of colour were laid one 

^ Ripofio, p. 174. 

* The Christ in the Garden, the Piet^, and the CruciBxion, with Mary 
Magdalen and Saints, at Florence. 

VOL. I. U 


upon the other) was not dry, so that the under colours 
shrunk in drying, and thus occasioned those cracks on 
the surface ; but Pietro could not have known that tbis 
would happen, because in his time artists were only 
beginning to paint well in oil."^ 

The precaution of waiting long between the dead 
colouring and the finishing was observed generally by 
the Italians ; Boschini relates that it was the practice 
of Titian, and its universality may be inferred from 
the common custom of rubbing down the surface of the 
picture with pumice-stone, or even scraping it with a 
knife, as related by Armenini — a process which coaM 
not take place until the painting was perfectly chy. 
This practice seems to have been common to all the 
later schools, and some unfinished pictures by Guide 
and Guercino at Bologna present the appearance of 
having undergone this operation. 

But it was necessary that the painting should be 
quite dry and hard before the surface was thus rendered 
smooth ; and for this reason, as well as to prevent the 
yellowing of the oil, the painting was exposed to the 
sun at intervals until it was dry. This last process 
was repeated after every layer of colour. 

During the winter the colours dried more slowly,* 
and when the heat of the sun was insufficient to dry 
them, or the weather particularly damp, they were ex- 
posed to the heat of a stove, which Errante says ' was 
the custom of the best colourists. The practice has the 
sanction of Lionardo da Vinci/ 

Painters had another reason for exposing their pic- 
tures to the sun in the various stages of the painting, 

1 Life of Pietro Pteni^no. 

» Gachet, Lettres In^dites de P. P. Rubetis ; De Piles, Ei^mens, p. 142. 

8 Sagg^o sui Colon. Home, 1817. 

< Trattato, cap. 862. The experiments of Mr. Sheldrake prove that 
pnintingg executed with amber varnish were not injured by exposure to the 
strong heat of a stove. 


and this was to remove by evaporation the yellow coat 

of oil which always rose to the surface, and which if not 

iremoved by this process darkened the colours. A letter 

of Rubens,^ addressed to Pei'resc, mentions this defect 

1x) which new pictures are subject, and prescribes the 

only remedy. The letter was written in Italian, and is 

thus translated by Mr. Eastlake : ^ — " If I knew that 

my portrait was still at Antwerp, I would cause it to be 

detained and the case to be opened, in order to see if it 

is not spoiled after having been so long shut up without 

air; and whether, as commonly happens to fresh 

colours [under such circumstances], it has not turned 

yellow, so as to be no longer in appearance what it was 

at first The remedy, however, if it should happen to 

be in so bad a state, will be to place it several times in 

the sun, as the sun can dissipate the superfluity of oil 

which causes this alteration. And, if at any time it 

should again become brown, it should again be 

exposed to the sun's rays, which are the only antidote 

for this disease of the heart" 

The perusal of this letter and other evidence which, 
as it has been given by Mr. Eastlake, it is unnecessary 
to repeat, induced me about three years since to try 
and restore by exposure to the sun, the colour of some 
grounds on canvass which had been made for a par- 
ticular purpose, of white-lead and marble-dust mixed 
with oil. They had been turned towards the wall, or 
otherwise excluded from light and air for some years, 
and were nearly of the colour of yellow ochre. One of 
these was placed in a balcony exposed to the afternoon 
sun. In two days there was a perceptible difference, 
and in a fortnight the yellow hue had nearly disap- 
peared. A long loop of riband, by which the canvass 

1 Dated LondoD, Aug. 9, 1629, published hj Gacbet. 
< For much addidonal inforauitioD on this subject, see the ' Materials,' 
&C., pp. 609—619. 

U *2 

• • • 


(which was old) had formerly hung against the wall, 
was accidentally suffered to hang over the face of the 
canvass ; on raising the riband it was found that the 
ground was not bleached where the riband had lain, 
and this circumstance afforded the means of judging 
correctly of the effect of the exposure to the sun/ 

The opinion of Rubens and other evidence of a 
similar nature suggested the importance of ascertaining 
whether the custom of exposing pictures to the sun still 
existed in Italy ; and from the inquiries I made, I am 
induced to believe that the practice of exposing pictures 
freshly painted in oil to the sun has always existed in 
Italy, and has descended traditionally from the early ages 
of oil-painting to the present time;* that the custom is 
now observed by several eminent professors and restorers 
of pictures at Milan and Venice, and that the picture is 
by some artists exposed to the dew and then dried 
thoroughly in the hot sun between every coat of paint ; 
in short, that the great principle in painting is to make 
the paint dry rapidly and perfectly between every coat 
of colour, in order to prevent the pigments being acted 
on by each other and by the air.' The tradition in 
Venice is that the oil always rises to the surface of the 
picture and dries dark ; and if the colours are long m 
drying, the oil with which they are mixed becomes 
rancid and has a deleterious influence on the colours. 
For this purpose the pigments are to be mixed with as 
little oil as possible, and the tints laid on extremely 
thin, where it is intended to repeat the colours fre- 

1 In the directions given by Pacheco for cleaning and refreshing old oil 
paintings, darkened by smoke and varnish, without danger to the picture, 
he recommends that if they are on cloth, they should be placed in the sua 
for half a day ; but if on panel, they should be exposed to the dew for two 
nights previous to being washed. Tratado, p. 394. 

s See Cennini, Trattato, cap. 155 ; and Ridolfi, Vita di MafFeo Verona. 

s See the remark of Bombelli (a Venetian }iainter) quoted by Mr. Shel- 
drake, Trans. Soc. Arts, vol. xiz. p. 329. See also an extract from the letter 
of an eminent foreign Professor in Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials,' &c., p. 365. 



quently, especially in glazing, when the hand is to be 
used instead of the pencil, for the express reason that 
the colours can be laid on by it more thinly than with 
a brush. 

With regard to employing colours mixed with size 
on oil pictures, it was the opinion of Merimfee * that 
Paolo Veronese sometimes began his pictures in 
tempera and finished them in oil. I cannot discover 
that any Italian author mentions this fact, nor have I 
met with any traditionary account of such a practice. 
But the fact that some parts of oil paintings were at 
times painted with size-colours, is established beyond a 
doubt, as the practice not only of the Yenetiafis, but of 
artists belonging to the other schools; and as it is 
allied ^ that some part of the celebrated altar-piece of 
the Van Eycks at Ghent was painted in tempera, it 
appears probable that the practice has existed from the 
earliest period of the introduction of oil painting in 
Italy. Besides this picture of the Van Eycks, it has 
been ascertained* that the blue sky of a picture by Pietro 
Perugino (the first who practised the Flemish method 
of oil painting in Perugia) was painted with smaltino 
tempered with starch or flour paste (coUa di farina). 
There is sufficient evidence to prove that Paolo 
Veronese frequently painted the blue sky in tempera, 
and it has been asserted that he applied the more 
delicate finishing colours in the same manner, but this 
requires confirmation. 

In the Flemish system of painting, which was 
adopted by the early Italian schools, varnish was added 
to die oil colours, so that the full eflect of the colours 
was always visible ; and as the layers of colour were 
thin and the colomrs always finely ground, there was no 

1 De la Peiiiture k rHuile, p. 249—261 . » Pacheco, Tratado, p. 3t3. 
s See ' La Vita, Elogio, e Memorie dell* egregio Pittore Pietro Peru- 
gino, e degli Scolari di esso/ Da B. Orsini. Penigia, 1804, p. 208, n. 

CCCX • INTRODUCTION. [chap, vi- 

necessity for rasping the surface. But where the local 
colours were laid on solidly, and not finely ground as in 
the Venetian school, it was necessary, when the abbozso 
was perfectly dry and hard, in order to secure an even 
surface for the finishing colours, to rub down the surface 
with pumice-stone.* 

In the Venetian manner the colours of the abbooo 
having been painted with oil only, were dull ; and as the 
difficulty of retouching a picture "in secco,** that is 
with a perfectly dry surface, was felt by all artists,* it 
was considered necessary by some to apply a thin coat 
of varnish in order to bring out the colours in all their 
force, as well as to enable the finishing colours to adhere 
more firmly.' This is said to have been the practice of 
Paolo Veronese, and is still observed by some Venetian 
artists. Volpato states * that white of egg was some- 
times used for this purpose, and sometimes varnish or 
oil. Lana recommends^ boiled oil to which litharge 
has been added in preference to raw oil, and De Files* 
prefers oil to varnish. Armenini and Bisagno direct 
that a thin coat of oil should be passed over the picture, 
or at least over the parts to be retouched, and then 
wiped off immediately, leaving only a slight degree of 
moisture on the surface.^ This process is technically 
called " oiling out" 

To conclude, I might have indulged in expressing 
the feelings of delight with which I contemplated the 
works of the great Masters of the Italian School ; but 
I feel that this would not have accorded with the techni- 
cal and practical details of the various subjects treated 

1 Mengs is said to have adopted this practice. 
^ Goethe on Colours, by Eastlake, p. 407^ n. 

* Lairesse, le Grand Lirre des Peintres, vol. i. cap. v. 

* Pp. 747, 749. » P. 746, n. « El^mens, pp. 114, 118. 
'^ See generally Mr. Eastlake's ' Materials,' &c., pp. 476, 304 n. ; and see 

Verri, Saggio Elementare, &c., p. 115. 


of in these volumes. It has been my object to support 
the statements I have made, and the opinions I have 
expressed, by the authorities quoted, or to which I have 
referred. From the commencement to the conclusion, 
the pleasing expectation of discovery has alleviated the 
labour of research, and smoothed the path of inquiry ; 
and although I have not succeeded to the fiill extent of 
my wishes, I indulge the hope that my labours, which 
have been devoted entirely to this object for upwards of 
three years, may be found useful, and not altogether 


Kntitled ' Racoolti di Secred, Specific!, Renicdj, &c. ; ora adesso di Fra 
Fortunato da Rovigo, Laico Capucino, Infermiere nel Convento dei 
Capucini di Verona.' 

This MS., which is in two thick volumes in 8vo., is in the possession of 
the Canon Ramelli, of Rovigo. The MS. consists of seveml treatises on 
medicine, and of collections of recipes for colours, with directions for minia- 
ture painting. Many of the lormer are translations from the French, and 
were probably used by Fra Fortunato in his character of sufierintendent of 
the infirmary of the convent. The recipes date from 1659 (soon after the 
profession of Fra Fortunato) to 1711. A copy from the books of the con- 
vent, of the register of his profession, is inscribed in the first page of the MS. 

The recipes for painting resemble so closely those in other MSS. of Secreti, 
that it appeared unnecessary to copy the whole. I have transcribed a few 
only, which show the colours and methods in use during the time of Fra 
Fortunato. From these we find that lake was prepared from ''grana 
tinctoria '* or ** grana di kermes," ** cimatura di scarlato," '* cremisi" (pro- 
bably cochineal), ** verzino,*' and '* gomma lacca." — " Lacca fina" was made 
from '* cimatura di scarlato overo grana fina, cochiniglia, and gomma lacca." 

Among the blue pigments, azzurro di Germania is stated to be composed of 
mercury, sulphur, and sal ammoniac. '* The blue colour made at Pozzuoli " 
is the old vestorian azure ; it was made of sand, " fior di nitro,*' and copper 
filings. ** Biadetto " was composed of verdigris, sal ammoniac, and tartar. 
These blue pigments appear to have been difficult to use, since there are es- 
pecial directions for tempering them. Sometimes a varnish composed of spirit 
of turpentine and mastic was employed for this purpose. '' Biadetto '* was to 
be ground with a little burnt roche alum, or tartar, or sandarac ; it was to be 
ground very fine, and in miniature painting was to be used with a clear var- 
nish of spirit of turpentine and mastic ; it would then spread extremely well, 
glaze brilliantly, and be a most beautiful colour.^ 

* Biadeltofitre, che bent si poui Mlendere, miniando.^SA macina bene con nn 

CCCxii INTRODUCTION. [chip, ti, 

" Boiled oil for painters, as clear (colourless ?) as water/' was prepared in 
the following manner : — '^ Put the usual piece of rag containing litbarn 
and other customary things in linseed or nut oil, add water, and boil, and 
this will cause it [the oil] to be clear (colourless ?) as water itself."^ 

The recii)es for varnish are not numerous. A recipe for one which is 
ascribed to P. Bonaventura, a monk of Cento, dated 3rd of April, 1707, tat 
paper, wood, and other things, consisted of spirits of wine 6 oz., sandarBC 
2 oz., olio d'abezzo | oz. Another varnish, which is not injured by hot 
water, consists of linseed oil and resin ; this was the Italian '' Temioe co- 
mune." Another varnish was composed of spirit of turpentine, sandanc, 
and (concrete) turpentine ; and another of '^ gomma copale*' dissolved io 
spirit of turpentine. 

The directions for *^ painting in fresco on lime with colours that are not 
mineral (such as lake), and to enable them to resist for a long period the 
effects of the air,'* are comprised in a few words, namely j to apply a coat of 
'^ gesso da sarto" upon the lime spread on the wall, and then paint on it 

The short instructions for miniature painting contain but little that is 
new. Fra Fortunate, however, recommends that the gum should be added 
to the colours, only when required for use, because if the colours were 
suffered to remain long mixed with gum, they would become dry, and the 
addition of water to them would cause the more delicate colours, such as 
lake, giallolino, cinnabar, and azure, to change. From this it appears that 
it was the common practice to keep the colours for miniature painting ready 
mixed with gum. 

pboo di alume di rocco, bruciato, o vero con un poco di tartaro^ o pore con lan- 
dracca. Vedi qui sotto. 

II biadetto macinato ben sottile, e adoprato miniaudo con yemice fiitta ooo 
acqua di ragia e mastice, che sia ben chiara, si stende benissimo, vela polito, e 
fa colore bellissimo. 

* P^ far C olio cotto dapittore, che sia chiaro come acqua, — Metti il solito 
piumazzolo col litargirio, et altro come si usa dentro V oglio di nooe o di lino a 
boUire, e con esso mettivi seco dell' acqua a bollire, che questa lo fkra rimaner 
chiara, come Y acqua medesima. 



In the year 1431, Jehan le Begue, a licentiate in the 
law and Notary of the Masters of the Mint at Paris, 
being then in the sixty- third year of his age,* com- 
posed, or rather compiled, the following manuscript,* 
from a collection of works on painting made by one 

1 See end of manuscript of Le Begue. 

* The original manuscript of Jchan le Begue is preserved in the Biblio- 
th6que Royale at Paris. It is on paper, and is numbered 6741. For the 
first information concerning this manuscript we are indebted to Leasing, 
who mentions it in his Treatise, ' Dom Alter der Oelmalerey aus dem 
Theophilus Presbyter,' 1774. Leasing, however, did not know the work, 
but quoted the title only from the Catalogue of Manuscripts in the above- 
mentioned library, because he believed it contained a copy of the manu- 
script of Theophilus. It docs, in fact, contain great part of the first book 
of this author. Raspe* and Emeric David ^ both mention the manuscript, 
but with reference to the copy of Theophilus only ; the remainder and 
greater part of the manuscript seems to have been unknown until 1842 or 
1843, when M. le Comte Charles de TEscalopier procured a copy of the 
whole for the purpose of completing his edition of Theophilus. In the 
autumn of 1844 I went to Paris to procure a copy of the manuscript, which 
I obtained after some unavoidable delay. Some extracts from the work 
have been recently published by Mr. Eastlake, in his ' Materials for Painting 
in Oil,' and by Mr. Hendrie, in his edition of Theophilus ; but the whole 
work has never yet been published. 

« Critical Essay on Oil Painting, Lond. 1781, p. 38. 
*> Biographic Universelle— Art Th^phile. 

VOL. I. B 


Jehan Alcherius, or Alcerius. The motive that in- 
duced Jehan le Begue to undertake the work does 
not appear. lie himself tells us that he was unaccus- 
tomed to such writing;^ and the numerous mistakes 
throughout the manuscript prove that he told the truth. 
But, whatever might have been his inducements, tlie 
zeal with which he undertook the work, and the man- 
ner in which he executed his task, show his attachment 
to the arts, and his desire to obtain information on all 
subjects connected with iU The formation and alpha- 
betical arrangement of the Table of Synonymes at the 
commencement of the work, at a period when the art 
of printing was unknown,* and the sources of informa- 
tion from books must have been very limited, was no 
small proof of his industry and perseverance. His 
authorities seem to have been the works collected by 
^ Alcherius, and the Gatholicon, which was then in manu- 
script, and which was not printed until twenty-nine 
years after Jehan le Begue completed his work*' 

1 See [No. 803a]. These numbers refer to the recipes in the text. 

* The first essay of Laurentius, the inventor of printing with sepoRBte 
wooden types, was about the year 1430. 

s The * Gatholicon' was a Latin Dictionary , composed in the year 1286, 
by Fra. Giovan. Baldi, a Grenocse. It was printed at Mentx in 1460, 
nearly thirty years after it was quoted by Jehan le Begue ; and Bettineili re- 
marks it was the fourth booic after the Bible which was printed with moveable 
types of fused metal, but the author of the article ' Printing ' in the * Ency- 
dopeedia Britannica ' says it was printed by Guttemberg with types of cut 
metal, and that Guttemberg used none but wood or cut metal types until the 
year 1462. Previous to the ' Gatholicon,' two other Latin vocabalaries 
had been composed in Italy, the first of which was entitled * Glosaario 
delta Lingua Latina ;' this was written by Papia, a Lombard, and, as it is 
believed, a native of Milan, who was one of the most learned Greek scholars 
of his age : he flourished about a.d. 1060. This was followed by the Dic- 
tionary of Uguccione Pisano, Bishop of Ferrara, in 1190. See Bctiinelli's 
' Eisorgimento d' Italia,' vol. i. p. llOn. 


My reasons for supposing this Table of Synonymes to 
have been composed by Le Begue are, that the recipes 
in old French at the end (which the table of contents^ 
informs us were added by Le Begue) are referred to 
in the Table of Synonymes, and also because this Table 
is full of errors, and contains many statements which 
Alcherius must have known to be incorrect. 

After the Table of Synonymes are two fragments of 
alphabetical indices, the first of which begins at the 
letter Q, and concludes with W ; the other comprises 
the letter A only. These fragments, I consider, are 
both the work of Le Begue, because they contain refer- 
ences to the recipes in old French at the end of the 

Of the early life and profession of Jehan Alcherius, v^ 
or Archerius, the manuscript gives no indications. It 
does not actually appear that he was a painter, but his 
attachment to the art is unquestionable, or he would not " 
have taken the pains he did to become acquainted with 
the technical processes, and to write down so many 
recipes from the dictation of others. In all that related 
to the art he wa3 superior to Jehan le Begue ; he also -- 
possessed the additional advantage of understanding 
Italian, which he acquired in Italy during his occasional ^ 
visits to that country. The object of these visits does 
not transpire ; it is, however, certain that he frequented 
the company of painters, and that he neglected no 
means of obtaining information relative to the art. 

The earliest biographical notice of Alcherius is dated 

I I am of opinion (his table of contents is not in the hand- writing of Le 




March, 1382/ at which time he left Milan for Paris, 
taking with him a recipe for making writing-ink, which 
had been given to him by Alberto Porzello, " who was 
most perfect in all kinds of writing and forms of letters, 
and who, while he lived, kept a school at Milan, and 
taught boys and young men to write." In 1398 
Alcherius was at Paris. On the 28th of July, in that 
year, he wrote his treatise * De Coloribus diversis 
modis tractatur,** from the dictation of Jacob Cooa, a 
Flemish painter, then living at Paris. This treatise 
relates chiefly to miniature painting, and its usual 
accompaniment gilding. On the 8th of August follow* 
ing he wrote another short treatise, which also relates 
to the same subject, entitled * De diversis Coloribus,' * 
from the dictation of Antonio di Compendio, " an illu- 
minator of books, and an old man," who had tried aU 
the recipes himself. These recipes therefore may be 
considered to date from the middle of the fourteenth 
century, at least. In October, 1398, he was still at 
Paris.^ Nothing more is known of him from that time 
until the month of March, 1409, when it appears he 
was again at Milan, where he copied the recipes at the 
commencement of the work as far as No. 88, from a 
book lent to him by Fra Dionisio, a Servite, or, as it is 
expressed in the manuscript, " of the order of the Ser- 
vants of St. Mary, which order in Milan is called * Del 
Sacho.' " * These recipes, from Nos. 1 to 47 inclusive, 
are for colours of various kinds for painting and writings 
and other things belonging to the art of miniature 

1 See Preface to No. 802. « See Preface to No. 291. 

s See Preface to No. 297. « See Preface to No. 903. 

» See Preface to No. 47. 


painting. Nos. 47 to 88 contain various recipes for 
working in metals ; for hardening iron ; for a kind of 
nigellum ; for making a sort of pyrophorus — namely, a 
light which should hurn under water, and which could 
be extinguished with oil only ; and also a candle which 
should bum with water and without fire. In No. 86 
a kind of gum is mentioned, which was said to have 
attractive powers somewhat like the loadstone. It is 
possible that this gum Andrianum, the name by which 
it is called in the manuscript, may be another name for 
amber (of which this attractive power is a known attri- 
bute), which is found embedded in stones in various 
parts of Europe, and in Italy on the coast of the 
Adriatic* From the description, however, and from 
a consideration of the locality where it was found, it 
seems equally probable that it was a sort of native 

The mountain where the gum is found is called in 
the text Monte Bono or Buono ; it should be Monte 
Bene. This mountain is on the high road from Bo- 
logna to Florence, and is covered with scattered rocks 
of breccia, and is remarkable for its fine scenery, and for 
the singular natural phenomena which are found in its 
vicinity. The height is above 4000 feet. The fires of 
Pietra Mala, a village near this mountain, are known 
to all tourists. These extraordinary fires are con- 
stantly issuing from a spot of ground three or four yards 
across. When the air is calm they are seen at a great 
distance, rising about a foot from the ground, and in 

I See Agricola, ' De Mctallicis/ f. 238. See also Eastlake, ' Mate- 
rials/ &c., 234 n. 


damp weather are very bright and luminous. They are 
extinguished by a high wind, but light again spontane- 
ously on the air becoming calm. They resemble the 
flame of alcohol ; and V olta ascertained that the gas 
emitted is a composition of carbon and hydrc^en — pro- 
bably produced by the decomposition of vegetable 
remains in the subjacent sand-rock. Between Monte 
Bene and Montoggioli is a singular spring, which is fre- 
quently dry. If a lighted match be brought near die 
mud of this spring, the gases exhaled from it imme- 
diately take fire, burning with a lambent flame.^ 

On the 2nd of February, 1410, Johannes Alcherius 
wrote a description of the process of preparing ultra- 
marine from the instruction given him by one Master 
Johannes, a Norman, residing in the house of Pietro da 
Verona.* This Pietro da Verona was probably a 
painter; and the researches of the Abbate Moschoni 
have shown that a painter of this name was at Padua 
in 1398, and that his son Antonia da Verona was also 
at Padua in 1393.' We may therefore suppose that 
the former was the contemporary of Johannes Al- 

On the 11th February, 1410, Johannes Alcherius 
was at Bologna, where he became acquainted with one 
Theodore, a native of Flanders and an embroiderer, 
who had been employed at Pavia by Gian Galeazzo Vis- 
conti, and who gave him certain recipes and directions 
for preparing and using coloured waters, which Theo- 

1 See Murray's ' Guide to North Italy.* 
s See Prc&ce to No. 118. 

3 See Moscbini ' della Origine e delle Vicende della PitUira in Padora.* 
Padova, 1826, p. 9. 


dore stated he had procured at London in England/ 
These recipes, which, it appears from the Note to No. 
96, were given in writing, were written in French. 

It is certain that these passages relate to the pre- 
paration of transparent colours for painting ;^ but I 
think that they refer also to the art of dyeing, and to 
the decoration of wearing apparel. No. 92 is evidently 
a mordant, and was used both to prepare the cloth to 
receive the colours, and to bleach certain parts of co- 
loured cloths, by which a regular pattern might be given 
to them. The note of the author attached to this recipe 
certainly alludes to this operation of the art of dyeing, 
in which it is expressly stated white letters and figures 
could be drawn upon a coloured ground ; for it is well 
known if figures, &c., be drawn with the mordant on 
cloth, and then suffered to dry, and if, when dry, the 
cloth be dipped into a coloured dye and afterwards 
dried, it will appear one uniform colour ; but if the cloth 
so coloured be then washed in plain water, the colour 
will be discharged from those parts on which the mor- 
dant was not applied, and the cloth will be marked with 
a coloured figure on a white ground. This appears to 
be the process alluded to in the text, No. 92. 

An additional reason for supposing that these re- 
cipes relate also to the process of dyeing arises from the 
fact that the stuffs to be stained was sometimes made of 
wool expressed by the French word " drap," and the 

1 See Preface to No. 89. Gian Galeazzo died in 1402. He bad the 
glory of commencing the ' Duomo' of Milan in 1386, and the * Certosa' of 
Pa via in 1896. He was succeeded by Gian Maria Visconti. 

> See Kastlake, * Materials/ &c., cap. 5. See also EracliuS) lib. iii. 
No. 26. 


Latin " drapis coloricis lane ;" and I am not aware that 
woollen cloth has ever been used for the purpose of 
serving as a ground for pictures. The word " tellis," 
which occurs in the note after No. 99, shows that the 
staining or painting was not limited to woollen cloths, 
but extended also to those made of linen. This sup 
position receives more weight from a passage in the 
manuscript of St. Audemar (No. 195), where he says, 
" If you wish to gild leather, or purple cloth, or linen, 
or silk, stir it (the mordant) up altogether and draw 
beasts, birds, and flowers upon it; then lay on die 
gold." This passage can only be understood as appli- 
cable to articles of dress, unless indeed the painted or 
gilded cloths should have been used as altar-cloths or 
for the hangings of apartments. 

The view I have taken of this subject is, I think, 
confirmed by the fact that the English in the fourteenth 
century actually wore garments painted with various 
colours, or in the words of the manuscript chronicle 
quoted by Mr. Planchfe, in his * History of British 
Costume,' "All that time the Englishmen were clothed 
all in cootes and hoodes peynted with letters and 
flowers, and seemly with long beards." 

The practice is further illustrated by the epigram 
which, in 1327, was affixed to the church-door of St 
Peter Stangate : — 

<* Long beirds hertiless, 
Peynted hoods witless, 
Gay cotes graceless, 
Maketh Englonde thriftless." 

Nor does it appear to me any objection that the 
words " lavorare " and " depingere " are used, because 
it does not .nppear that at this period blocks for calico- 


printing were invented, and consequently the letters 
and figures were necessarily painted on the cloth by 
hand. It seems to me very natural that an em- 
broiderer should have learnt the particulars of an in- 
vention which must materially have interfered with his 
own trade. 

On the 13th of February, 1410, Johannes caused 
the recipes numbered 100 to 116, inclusive, to be 
copied from a book lent to him by "Johannes de 
Modena, a painter living at Bologna."^ These are 
the recipes which, being written in Italian, Jehan le 
Begue could not read ; he, however, procured a Latin 
translation of them to be made by a friend of his "who 
was skilled in both languages." They relate chiefly to 
colours and to mordants for laying on gold. Among 
the latter is one which will not be affected by the 
weather, and which consisted of minium, ceruse, verdi- 
gris, bole, and ochre ground up with linseed oil and 
" liquid varnish." There is also a recipe for preparing 
" gesso sottile " for a ground for the gold. 

There is reason to believe that the Giovanni da 
Modena, the painter mentioned in this manuscript, 
and Giovanni Bossi da Modena, who was called ** II 
Negro," the architect, were identical. 

Giovanni da Modena is mentioned for the first time 
as a painter in 1410, when it appears from the manu- 
script of Le Begue and from some documents pre- 
served in Bologna, that he was then resident in that 

In 1 408, Bartolommeo Bolognini directed by his will 

1 'Guidadi Bologna/ p. 112. 


that certain pictures were to be painted in the chapel 
of S. Giorgio (now S. Abbondio, in the church of 
S. Fetronio in Bologna), which belonged to him, and 
which he described, as well as the subjects of (he pic- 
tures to be painted. It appears, from the archives of 
S. Fetronio, that in 1420 Giovanni da Modena was 
selected to paint some pictures illustrative of stories 
from the Old Testament in this chapel, and as the sab- 
jecte of the pamtmgs now there correspond witfi those 
ordered by Bartolommeo Bolognini, it is conjectured 
that some of these paintings are by Giovanni da Mo- 
dena.^ His name s^ain occurs as a painter in 1451 
in some documents preserved at Bologna, but his 
works are not mentioned; and from this time until 
1455 we hear nothing more of Giovanni da Modena ; 
but about that time Giovanni Rossi executed, for the 
Duke Borso, the beautiful miniatures in the Bible of 
the House of Este, now preserved in the Ducal Library 
at Modena.' Lanzi says this Giovanni Rossi exer- 
cised his art at Mantua. From the few historical 
notices of Giovanni Rossi da Modena, the architect, 
called ' II Negro,' it appears that he was the son of 
Martino de Rubeis de Mutina ; that he was living at 
Bologna in 1410,^ and the archives of S* Petoonio 

1 < Guida di Bologna/ p. 266. 

2 Marchese, * Memorie dei Pittori Domenicaiii,' vol. i. p. 174. Lenzi, 
vol. iv. p. 6. 

* While I was preparing these notes, I received the following note 
(which I translate literally) from Sig. Michaelangelo Gualandi of Bologna, 
whose archaeological researches in the cause of the fine arts are well known 
and appreciated : — 

** We have met with the name of one Giovanni da Modena, a painter, 
between the years 1410 and 1451, but none of his works are named. As 
to the architect of S. Petronio in Boiognsi by name CHovanm da Modena^ 


show that he succeeded Paolo Tibaldi as the architect 
of that edifice in 1454.^ His name may now be seen 
on some architectural designs preserved in S. Petro- 
nio. He was living in 1470. 

From these facts there appears scarcely a doubt of 
the identity of the painter and architect ; for it has been 
shown that Giovanni Bossi, or Bussi, was an architect in 
1454, and that about 1455 a Giovanni Rossi, a painter, 
executed some miniatures for the Duke of Modena. 
The identity is further confirmed by the circumstance 
that both painter and architect resided, at least occa- 
sionally, in Bologna from 1410, when Alcherius visited 
that city, until 1454 or 1455, In addition to these 
facts it must be remembered that the old masters fre- 
quently exercised both professions, to which they some- 
times added also that of sculptor. Giotto, the reformer 
of the Florentine school of painting, was the architect 
of the beautiful Campanile of Florence. Michael 
Angelo painted in the Sistine Chapel, and was the 
architect of St Peter's. Bramante also was a painter 
and an architect : there is nothing singular, therefore. 

I am going to publish Home interesting notices respecting him; among 
others, that dated from Rome, 22nd February, 1454, in which he is de- 
scribed as follows : — ' Providum vir Magtstrum Johannem quondam Mar- 
tini de Hubeis de Mutma^ Muratorem Bonon commorantem qui comuniter 
dicitur M. Johane Negro.* He is styled * Architecto Magistrum et Inge- 
niorum.' He lived until 1470, whence it is scarcely probable (supposing 
him also to have been a painter) that he should have been the same indi- 
vidual who worked in 1410, when he must at least have been twenty-five 
years of age." 

This fact is certainly sufficient to raise a doubt as to the identity of the 
painter and architect, but instances of longevity are so common among 
painters, that there is nothing unreasonable in supposing Giovanni oa 
Modena to have attained the age of eighty or eighty-five years. 

1 < Guida di Bologna,' p. 97. 


in Giovanni da Modena being at the same time a 
painter and an architect 

Giovanni de' Rossi had a son named Autonio, vrho 
became a Dominican in the convent of Sta. Maria 
Novella, at Florence, and who being afflicted with a 
tedious and incurable malady which rendered him 
unfit for other studies, occupied himself entirely in 
writing and illuminating the choral books of the con- 
vent He died of the plague in 1495/ The name of 
Antonio da Modena also occurs among the names of the 
artists in the book belonging to the Society of Painters 
in Padua during the year 1441:* this was probably 
Antonio, the son of Giovanni de* Rossi above men- 

From Bologna, it appears, Johannes Alcherius went 
to Venice, where, on the 4th of May, 1410, he procured 
a recipe for preparing ultramarine from " Michelino di 
Vesuccio, the most excellent painter among all the 
painters of the world." ^ The high opinion entertained 
by Alcherius for the skill of Michelino was general 
among his contemporaries. Pietro Candido Dicembrio 
asserts that he was one of the most famous painters of 
his time — inter cceteres cetatis suce iUustris. 

The Con te Gaetano Melzi informed me that Michelino 
was a native of Besuzzo (a village in the province of 
Milan), which forms part of the estates of the Borromeo 
family, by whom he was much employed. The present 
representative of this noble house possessed, until very 

* Marchese, * Memorie/ &c., vol. i. p. 174. 
« See Moschini * della Pittura in Padova,' p. 23. 
See Preface to No. 117. 


lately, a picture, now entirely decayed, by this artist. 
Conte Giberto Borromeo was polite enough to search 
for the picture in order to show it to me, but it. was so 
dilapidated that I could not see it. The following 
biographical notice respecting this painter is translated 
from a manuscript volume of Memoirs of the early 
Milanese Painters, Architects, and Sculptors, kindly 
lent me by Conte Gaetano Melzi of Milan, a nobleman 
distinguished for his literary attainments and possessing 
an excellent library : — 

" We may reasonably conclude that this is the 
Michelino of Milan who is named by Vasari among 
the disciples of Taddeo Gaddi. He is mentioned by 
Lomazzo, who says he was a very old Milanese painter 
who lived a hundred and fifty years before his time ; * 
and that he was one of the best of that period, judging 
firom his works, some of which exist to this day. He 
added that he was ^ stupendissimo nel far figure di 
animali ;' and he gives us a description of a picture or 
drawing in which are represented some peasants in the 
act of joking and laughing, which was really an extra- 
ordinary work of the kind. Pietro Candido Dicembrio, 
who was a contemporary of this same Michelino, men- 
tions another of his pictures, which was the portrait 
of Gian Maria Yisconti, Duke of Milan. It is also 
asserted that Michelino was not less skilful in archi- 
tecture, and that he took a prominent part in the 
academy instituted by the Duke Gian Galeazzo about 
the year 1380." 

I Lomazzo published his Treatise in 1584 ; this would bring the date of 
Michelino at least as far back as 1434. 


^ Michdino, therefore, is another instance of a painter 
exercising the profession of architect conjointly with 
his own. 

Lanzi (vol. iv. p. 139), after repeating what Lomazzo 
had said in praise of Michelino, adds, that it appears 
he was esteemed even by foreigners, for it is men- 
tioned by Morelli (Notiziej Sfc^ p. 81) that the 
Vendramini family in Venice possessed a small parch- 
ment book in quarto, containing animals painted by 
this artist. The note of Alcherius shows that Miche- 
lino was at Venice in 1410. Lanzi says he was living 
in 1435. 

Johannes Alcherius returned to Paris in 1410; and 
in December, 1411, a year after his return from Italy, 
he employed himself in recopying and correcting the 
manuscripts he had collected on painting.^ This ap- 
pears to have been his last labour in the service of the 
arts. From this time nothing more is known of this 
indefatigable collector of manuscripts on art, whose 
labours extended over a space of thirty years. Twenty 
years after we find his manuscripts in the hands of 
Jehan le Begue, who copied them **with his own 
hand into one volume/' and who probably arranged 
them in their present form. 

I have entered into these particulars because they 
give authority to the recipes, and authenticity to the 

Besides these manuscripts which I have mentioned, 
the volume of Le Begue contains also a copy of part of 
the first book of Theophilus ; a Treatise on the Com- 

1 See Preraces to Nos. 290, 297, 302. 


position of.ColourSy by Fetrus de Sancto Audemaro; 
and three books by Eraclius, entitled ^^ De Artibus 

The whole of the treatise of Theophilus has recently 
been published, with an excellent English translation 
and notes, by Mr. Hendrie. 


Table of the synonymous names of colours, and of the qualities 
and accidents of colours, and things pertaining to the art of 
painting ; also of the works and exercises proper and 
incident to them. 

Another table imperfect, and without a beginning. 

Experiments on colours. 

Divers experiments not upon colours. 

The work of Theophilus, a most admirable and learned master 
of the whole science of the art of painting. 

The work of Master Peter, of St. Audemar, on making 

The first and metrical book of Eraclius (a most learned man), 
on the colours and arts of the Romans. 

The second book by the same author, also metrical. 
The third book, in prose, on the aforesaid colours and 

Chapters written by John Archerius, or Alcherius, in the year of 
our Lord 1398, on colours for painting, as he -received them 
from Jacob Cona, a Flemish painter, then living in Paris. 

Chapters on the colours used for illuminating books, written 
and noted by the same Alcherius in the year 1398, as he 
received them from Antonio de Compendio, an illuminator 
of books in Paris ; and from Master Alberto Porzello, a 
schoolmaster at Milan, who was most skiliul in all kinds 
of writing. 

Other recipes in Latin and French by Master John, sumamed 
Le Begue, a licentiate in law, and secretary of the general 
magistrates of the king's mint at Paris; who wrote the 
present work, or the chapters collected in this volume, with 
his own hand, in the year of our Lord 1431, and in the 
63rd year of his age. 

Illustra Deus oculum. 



rTABULA de Yocabulis synonymis et equivocis colorum rerumque 
et accidentium colorum ipsisque omni arti pictorie confer- 
entiuin nee non operum exercitiorumque propitiorum ac con- 
tingentium eorum. 

Alia tabula licet imperfecta et sine initio. 

Expcrimenta de coloribus. 

Experimenta diversa alia quam de coloribus. 

Liber Theopbili admirabilis et doctissimi magistri de omni 

scientia picturae artis. 

Liber Magistri Petri de Sancto Audemaro de coloribus faci- 

Eraclii sapientissimi viri liber primus et metricus de coloribus 
et de artibus Romanorum. 

Ejusdem liber secimdus, item metricus. 
Ejusdem liber tertius sed prosaicus de coloribus et ar- 
tibus prsedictis. 
De coloribus ad pingendum capitula scripta et notata a Jo- 
hanne Archerio seu Alcherio anno Domini 1398 ut accepit 
a Jacobo Cona flamingo pictore commorante tunc Parisiis. 
Capitula de coloribus ad illuminandum libros ab eodem Ar- 
cberio sive Alcberio scripta et notata anno 1398 ut accepit 
ab Antonio de compendio illuminatore librorum in Parisiis 
et a magistro Alberto Porzello perfectissimo in omnibus 
modis scribendi, mediolani scholas tenente. 
Aultres receptes en Latin et en Francois per Magistrum Jo- 
hannem dit Le Begue Licentiatum in legibus et generalium 
magistrorum monetse regis greffarium Parisiis. Qui prae- 
sens opus seu capitula in hoc volumine aggregata propria 
manu scripsit anno Domini 1431. iEtatis vero suae 63. 

TUustra Deus oculum. 

VOL. I. c 


Tabula de vocabulis sinonimis et equivocis colorum^ 
rerumque, et accidencium colorum, ipsisque et arti 
pictorie conferentium, nee non operum exerciciorum* 
que propicionim ac contingencium eorum. 

[Habitis per presentem tabulam declaradonibus nominum, coloniiii, rerun- 
que, et accidencium eorum et artis pictorie, et eis conferencium, nee noo 
operum et exercicionim propiciorum ac contingencium eorum, queranter 
ipsorum et ipsorum effectiM et opersdonea in hoc iibro, et in oapitniis 
ejua, per primam ex tabulis sequentibus.] 

Albus est colory aliter, secnndum Grecos, dicitur leucos 
et secundum Catholiconem dicitur glaucus ; et est cerusa, aliter 
album Hispanic, et aliter album plumbum dicitur, et aliter 
bracha sen blacfaa.^ 

Azurium vel lazurium est color ; aliter celestis vel celestinos, 
aliter blauccus, aliter persus, et aliter ethereus dicitur. 

Aurum est nobilius metallum croceum * colorem habens et 
tenuatur in petulis, quo carentes utuntur stanno attenuate, et 
colorito colore croceo, et in petulis tenuato. 

Argentum est nobile raetallum album colorem habens, quo 
qui caret utitur ejus loco de dicto stanno tenuato, non co- 

Auripiffmentum est color croceus qui aliter arsicon dicitur. 

Aureola^ est color qui aliter pictura translucida yocatur; et 
omnis pictura, cujuslibet coloris, in stanno attenuate facta, si 

NoTB. — The technical nature of the terms, and the obscority of manj of 
the explanations, render a translation impracticable. 

I ASnts appears to signify white lead. Blacha was probably written 
biacha (biacca). 

s CrocuSf Croceum is used for yellow. See Croceum. 

8 Aureola. This appears to be the auripetrum of Pietro di S. Audemar, 
No. 202, and the Clavicula. 


ipsa liniatur, per earn transparet, et pulcra fit, precipue si in 
stanno tenuato polito sit. 

Attramentum est color niger quo scribitur, alitor incaustum 
dicitur, et vide in incausto, et de ipso qnoque utitur pingendo 
dum fit de fuligine ardentis candele vel lampadis vel carbone 
mollis ligni vel vitis.^ 

Auripentrum * est color croceus qui sianno lucido suppositus 
et linitus speciem auri procul intuentibus mentitur. 

Auripigmento similis est color qui vocatur {sic) et 

fit de felle piscis magni marini, credo balene, mixto cum creta 
alba sen gersa et modico aceto. 

Arsicon vel arxica ' sicut est auripigmentuniy est color cro- 
ceus, et miscendo succo herbe que scalda bassa dicitur fit viridis 
et succi gratia quarumdam aliarum berbarum ad hoc boni sunt. 

Anguillaria herba fisicit colorem {sic) cum miscetur vitro. 

Alba creta est gipsus, aliter gersa dicta, et fit de lapide quo- 
dam in fomace usque ad dealbacionem decocto, et de subtiliore 
ipsius dealbantur tabule altarium. Alii plastrum yocant 

Arxica est quedam terra crocea ad pingendum apta ac etiam 
ad formas operum cupri fuudendorum fiendas utilima. 

Alumen glade * quod alibi, precipue in Parisiis glassa dicitur, 
et si color non sit, tamen pluribus coloribus ad picturam et 
illuminaturam aptis nimis conveniens est. 

Assisiam auri faciendo intrat moniculum' quod est quedam 

1 Atramentum, then, is charcoal or lamp-black, No. 172. 

s Auripentram, called auripetrum by Petrus di S. Audemar, No. 202 ; 
by Eraeliua, No. xlir. ; and in the Clavicula. This appears to be the aame 
as Aureola. 

s Arzicon and Arxica are here considered synonymous, but they are not 
so in fact: the former is declared by Eradius, No. 1., to be the same as 
orpiment, but the latter is shown by the Bolognese manuscript to have been 
a yellow lake, made from the Reseda Luteola, Dyers' weed, or, as it is 
generally called. Weld. Arzicon appears to be a corruption of Arsemcon^ 
which Vitruvius (lib. vii. cap, vii.) says was the Greek name for Auripig- 

4 Alumen glacie appears to bo common alum, see Nos. 42, 299, 313. 

& Gum ammoniac. 



Aurare seu deaurare chrisare dicitur, ut dicit Catholicon* 
Argilla dicitur creta alba, et aliis modis vocatur ut&equenter 

in creta dicetur. 

AUn colores seu materie et metalla eorum sunt et nomi- 

nantur, ut et in hac tabula reperies in locis suis, cemsa, 

blacha, argentum et stannum tenuatum, gipsus, creta alba, 

candidus calx, gersa, tavertinus. 

Bracha seu Blacha ^ est color albus, et fit de plumbo vel de 
ejus corrupcione, sicut rubigo fit de ferro ; aliter Tocatur 
cerusa, album plumbum, et aliter glaucus. 

Blauccus* est color, aliter lazurium vel azurum aliter 
celestis vel celestinus, aliter persus, aliter ethereus dictoft. 

Brunus ^ est color quern puto esse bularminium alibi pom- 
tur pro sanguine drachonis qui quasi colons bularminici est. 

Bures* est liquor qui in liciTio de cinere fabarvun coctus 
facit colorem (sic) credo viridem, per ea que continentnr 

in capitulo 247. 

1 It is probable this word was originally written biacha, the old Italian 
way of spelling biacca. 

* Bkaiccus, or, as it, is written in No. 2^, Blaueha, and in No. S14 
blauetj signifies Blue. 

9 Brumiu, Probably Bruno di Spagna, which Haydocke, the translator 
of Lomazzo's Treatise on Painting (p. 99), identifies with Majolica, and 
which there is no reason to doubt is the sofl red hsematite, called also 
Bruno d'Inhilterra. This colour is mentioned by Eradius, Nos. 282, 

4 There is scarcely a doubt that this should be written Bcrax^ and not 
Bures. The word Borax is derived in the first place from the Hebrew 
Borith, and more immediately from the Arabic Baurach, and was so cor* 
rupted by the different nations who practised the arts in which it was used, 
that it is seldom found in old MSS. written twice alike. By Theophilos 
it is called ^' parahas/* or " barabas ;" in the Montpelier MS. described by 
Mr. Hendrie (Theoph. p. 429) it is written " Boraxa ;*' in the Clavicala, 
Bnrrago, Borras, Borraz, and Borac. It was also known to the Arabs 
under another name, derived from Tincal, its denomination in India, whence 
it was brought to Europe, namely Tincar, whence the Spanish name Atio<- 
car. It is a native borate of soda, and is found at the bottom of lakes in 
Persia, the Mogul territory, in Thibet, China, and Japan, 


Bisetusy vel Biseth folii,^ est color minus rubeus quam 
foliuin, et de eodem folio cum supernatat acceptus, et credo 
per hoc etiam potest intelligi quilibet clarescens color super- 
natans cuilibet ex coloribus cum in conchillis temperati sunt 
ad pingendum et aliquantulum quieyerunt. 

Bularminium * est color rubeus nigrescens, ut morellus, vel 
ut sanguis drachonis. 

Blacha seu Bracha* est color albus, alitor cerusa, aliter 
album Hispanic, aliter album plumbum, et aliter glaucus 

Braxilium vel Brexilium * est lignum rubeum a quo cum 
pistus rixus sit in lixiyio forti vel urina cum albumine com- 
miscetur exit color roxeus vel purpureus. 

Blaca, dicit Catholicon, est purpura cujusdem animalis 
colorem mutans ; et qui blateus dicitur, purpureus^ yel talis 
coloris, scilicet blauius dicitur ipse. 

Blandus est color albo et rubeo mixtus, aliter cerulus vel 
ceruleus ; et ceruleus color alibi ponitur pro colore ex albo et 
viridi mixto ; et facto vel ex viridi, albo, et croceo. 

Berettinus ^ color, Lombardice sic vocatus, est color medius 
inter album et nigrum, qui Latine elbus vel elbidus dicitur, ut 
in Catholicone scilicet ; Gallice grisus appellatur. 

Birsus* est color rufus vel niger, ut dicit Catholicon. 

Blaui ^ colores, seu materie eorum sunt et nominantur ut in 

1 See Folium. Bisetus, or Biseth folii, a Latin form of ** Bezette," which 
is a corruption of the Italian word *^ Pezzette.*' See the note to " Succus." 

^ Bularmenium — Armenian Bole. 

s Blacha, or bracha. This should probably be written biacha (biacca), 
Nos. 1, 18. 

4 Braxilium, or brexilium, the verzino of the Italians. 

^ This colour, which is a true grey, is the veneda of Theophilus. 

6 Birsus. This appears to be a dark purple colour. See Cennino Cen- 
nini, chap, cxiv., note by Tambroni. 

f Blaui colores, that is blue colours. See ante^ Blauccus. This term 
occurs in the extracts from the Archivio delle Riformazione di Firenze, 
published by Gaye, Carteggio inedito, vol. i. p. 449, and in Venetian 
turifis. Mr. Hendrie says the word is of Byzantine origin. The resem- 
blance to the German Blau is striking. 


hac tabula in locis suis reperies, acurium sett lazurium, viola, 
herbe flos, persicuB, persus, indicus, eilacetus, safirecus, ralngo 
argenti finissimi. 

Chriso, Chrisas^ id est deaurare vel aurarc ut in Catholicon 

Citrinus color aliquantulum differt a duobus coloribus, id 
est, croceo, et punico vel puniceo, et citrinus est color ex croceo 
et rubeo mixtus sen factus.^ 

Croceus* color aliquantulum differt a coloribus duobus, pu- 
niceo videlicet et citrino. 

Camaiura,* alia membrana, alia cedra, alia holcus vel olcus, 
alia lumina, alia veneda sen veneda, alia fiilnis, menesch, 
prasis, posech, cerusa, purpureus, folium, sinopis, ruscus, rosa, 
rubi, succus, menech, exedra. 

Cedra * est color qui fit de rubeo, mixto cum pauco nigri 
coloris, ad nuda ymaginum humanarum operanda ; aliter 
dicitur exedra. 

Coccicus,^ et, color est rubeus, sen sanguineus ; vel etiam 
genus est tincture coloris medii inter rubeum et croceum : alii 
coccinum illud vocant, ut, in passione Christ!, de colore vesds 

Coccus dicunt Greci, nos vero coccicuto, seu cortinum ant 
coccinum, rubeum colorem qui fit et est ex diversis ut sunt 
firondes silvestres, flores rose rubee, vel creta, que et terra 
rubea, et alii colores rubei artificiali; aliter dicitur vemilculus 
vel vermiletus, et aliter sanguineus. 

1 Orange colour. 

« Yellow. 

B Under this term the author has included all the tints used in painting 
flesh, as well the flesh tints as those for shadows. 

4 Cedra. The shadow-colour for flesh. See Theophilus, lib. i. chap, 
xiii., where it is called Excedra or Exedra. 

* Coccicus or Coccicum. By this term was meant the colour called by 
the Italians " Grana/' and which the Arabs called " Alkemies/' and we 


Cortex ^ secundus nigra prunii, A deooquatiur facit colorem 

Crocea terra, vel creta crocea, est ad pingendum apta ; aliter 
ocra vel ogra dicittir. Alia terra crocea est que arxica ' dici- 
tur qua forme operum fusilium cupri fiunt 

Cerulus vel cerulens,* dicit Catholicon, id est AiIyub ad 
instar cere viridis, niger, glaucus, et est prope blondus ; sed 
alibi idem Catholicon dicit quod fulyus est aliquantulum 
rubeuB vel cum nigro rubeus mixtus, et, ut idem Catholicon, 
flavus, albus, rubeus, aut blondus albo et rubeo factus. 

Celestinus vel celestis est color aliter azurium, aliter blau- 
cus, aliter persus, aliter ethereus dictus. 

CeriLsa est color albus qui fit de plumbo; aliter vocatur 
bracha seu blacba, et aliter glaucus et alibi dicitur que cerusa 
fit de cupro adusto/ 

Croma Grece, Latine color, secundum Catholiconem, quod 
est vocabulum universale pro omnibus coloribus. 

Color similiter est vocabulum universale pro omnibus colori- 
bus, et Grece croma dicitur, et quot sunt planete, tot sunt 
colores, videlicet septem, qui sunt, primo duo extremi, albus 
et niger« et reliqui quinque qui intermedii dicuntur, videlicet, 
celestis seu Lazurius, rubeus, croceus seu aureus, viridis, et 
sanguineus seu purpureus aut violetus vel fulvus de quorum 
singulis reperies in hac tabula in locis suis secundum litteras 
alphabeti primas nominum eorum et materias quibus fiunt, et de 
quorum etiam interunpcionibus ad invicem infinite diversitates 
colorum ad placitum humani ingenii distinguuntur. 

Crocus vel Crocum ^ est color exiens de safiranno madefacto. 

1 Cortex. See Nos. 206, 208, 209. This appears to have been used 
in making yellow yamishes which, being spread over tin, caused it to 
appear like gold, 

> Is this the '* Terra di Matton bianchi " mentioned Uy Baldinucci ? 

Voc. Dis. 

3 Cerulus. This is quite unintelligible. 

4 See Eraclius, No. liv. 

* Crocus or Crocum. The zafarano of the Italians. See Cennini, 

cap. 49. 


vel est idem safirannus ; et melior est dcilianus qui coriscos 

Croceus ^ est color idem exiens de saffiranno, et est qui fit 
ex mixtura fellis et crete albe, et est ocra vel ogra tem 
quedam, et est color auri^ et est auripigmentum, et est etiam 
quedam terra crocea que arxica dicitur apta ad formas operom 
cupri fiendas, et alii dicunt ipsam argillam. 

Candidus est color albus differens ab albo. 

Calx * calcis est color albus, videlicet lapis durus in igne 
usque ad ejus dealbacionem decoctus, de quo lathomi cemen- 
turn ad muros edificandos faciunt. 

Carminium " est color rubeus, aliter cinobrium yel sinopis 
dictus ; alibi dicitur quod fit de albo et ocro mixtis. 

Cerositu est color viridis, alibi capitur pro quodam suoco in 
159, et alibi pro {sic). 

Coriscos est crocus, id est, safiranus perfectissimus, ut ait 
Ysidorus, Dascens in Cicilia insula. 

Califfo* est color, videlicet, materia ilia crocea obsenra, 
quam fiimus ignis generat sub caminatis sub quibus contiDue 
fit ignis decoquendo fercula. 

Caprifolium * est herba in Anglico dicta " gaterice," cujus 
grana in vino trita et bulita si emitatur ferrum eruginatum 
color viridis fulgentis efficitur, et si addatur atramentum, nig^ 

Creta alba^ dicitur argilla, est color albus factus de lapide 
in fomace cocto, qui aliter plastrum dicitur, et aliter gersa, et 
aliter gipsus, et utuntur ipsa pelliparii ; alia est rubea, alia 
viridis et alia nigra, que terra nigra sen lapis niger vocatur, et 
alia crocea. 

1 Croceus may here be considered a general name for yellow pigments. 

2 Lime. 

3 See Eraclius, No. Ivi. 

4 This appears to be the colour we call Bistre« 

^ Sir Thomas Phillips says, in his Introduction to the Clavicula, that 
for Gaterice we should read gate-tree, t. e, goat-tree. 


Creta viridis,^ cujus melior naflcitur in creta ciiina insula, 
et vocatur Grece theodote ; alia creta reperitur rubea, et alia 
alba, et alia nigra, que appellata est lapis niger. 

Crisicula * est color {sic) veniens a Macedonia, et 

foditur ex metallis aerariis. 

Ceruleus color fit ex succo de lutea herba expresso, alibi 
dicitur quod viridissimum colorem fiicit, ipsa herba seu succus 
ejus, precipue si alicui substancioso colori albo admisceatur, ut 
Crete aut cerusie ; et alibi ceruseus est color blondus ex albo et 
rubeo factus. 

Carbo* est color niger factus de lignis mollibus ustis, ut salix, 
populus, vitis, et similia. 

Cinobrium * vel cinopis aUter carminium dicitur. 

Conckile^ vel concile maris circonscise sanguinem purpureum 
colorem habentem emittunt, quo tinctura purpurea fit pro lanis. 

Crocei colores seu materie, et metalla eorum sunt et nomi- 
nantur ut in hac tabula reperies in locis suis : aurum, auripig- 
mentum, auripigmento similis color, arsica, suffiranus, coriscos, 
caligo, decoctio secundi corticis nigri pruni, ocra vel ogra, fel, 
grecumspect, stannum tenuatum croce colore in hoc convenienti 

Celare a celo, celas, id est lanire, sculpere, pingere, figurare, 
protrahere, designare ; et inde celatura, celature, etc. 

Drachonis sanguis * est color morellus seu rubeus obscurus. 
Deaurarey id est, auro aurare, chrisare dicitur, ut in Catho- 

1 This creta viridis seems to be our terra yerte. 

s ChrysocoUa. This is the native green carbonate of copper. 

s Carbo, that is, charcoal black. 

< Cinnabar or vermilion. The writers of these old MSS. speak of the 
artificial cinnabar only. 

^ This was the purpura of Pliny and the ancients, from which the cele- 
brated Tyrian dye was prepared, and which was procured from a fish of the 
genus Buccinum found in the Mediterranean. 

^ Dragon's blood. 


Dmgnare^ protrahere, pingere, Bcolpere, figurare, lanire, 

celare, quasi idem Bignificant 

Exedra ^ est color ex mixtura rubea et modico nigri sjA. nuda 
corporum humanorum fienda aliter dicta cedra. 

Edera ' est herba arboribus herendo, repens^ que in Grallico 
dicitur ^^yene" vel "lierre/' cujus rami ex sobula perforad, 
Tel hinc inde infra eos incisi, ad medium videlicet de meiue 
Marcii emittuot liquorem sanguineumy qui, cum urina coctas, 
lacca est, qua tinguntur peiles parcium. 

Ethereus color aliter dicitur lazurium seu asurium, et aliter 
persus, aliter blauctus, et aliter celestinus seu celestis. 

£Z&z»,'-ba,-*bum, vel elbidu8,-da,*dum, color est medius 
inter album et nigrum, ut ait Catholicon, et Gallice dicitur 
Grieus, set Lombardioe Berretinus nominatur. 

Flavm ^ color fit de cerusa combusta* 

Folium ' est pro ting^oido lanas, et est color rubeus, et qid- 
dam alter est purpureus, et alter saphireus, scilicet est quidam 
alter qui fit misoendo ipsi rubeo cinerem vel lexivium dnerum 
ligni ulmi, et vocatur folium scampnense. 

FeV est liquor croceus, seu color, quo si cuprum cultello 
rasum et dente politum ungatur quociens conteniat, splendi- 
ficatur tanquam si deauratum esset, et si ipsum fel misceatur 
cum creta seu gersa alba, et modico aceto, efficitur oolor auri- 
pigmento similis, yidelicet croceus. 

Fuscus est color niger, ex carbone, vel ex fiimo lampadis 

1 Exedra. See Theophilus, lib. !. cap. xm. ; and Le Begtie, No. 345. 

s Edera, the ivy* 

' In English, Crrey, 

4 Flavud. This appears to be the colour we now cdl massaoot, the 
protoxide of lead. 

A Folium. See Vocabulary of Colours, stqjra, 

8 A similar colour is in use at the present day, c^led Gallstone. It is a 
beautiful and very transparent yellow, but it is not permanent. It is used 
in water-colours. 


cut candele ardentis factus^ et aliter dicitur fuligo/ dicitur 
Aliter fusciis sanctonicus dicitur. 


Fuligo est color niger yel quasi niger^ ad croceum tendens, 
et veniens a caminoignis^ aliter dicta caligo, et est etiam fiimus 
candele et lampadis nigerrimus recollectus ad scutellam vel 
aliud vas ferreum, vel cupreum, yel terreum. 

Famus* est color niger, si cum ab igne candele sepi vel 
cere, vel a lampadis lumine exit, colligatur, qui aliter fiiscus, 
et aliter fuligo nominatur. 

Fubms^ dicit Catholicon, est rubeus aliquantulum, vel cum 
nigro rubeus ; et vide sequenter in R« littera super verbo ramis^ 
quod ibi aliter dicitur. 

Fenixy seu phenix, vel feniceua color rubeus est et feniceon 
Grece Latine rubeum colori rosarum rubearum similatus. 

Ferula^* aliter galbanum dicta, est genus, et lac herbe, et 
est quidem color inde de succo ex palmitibus ejus expresso fac- 
tus ut dicit Catliolioon. 

FigurarCy pingere, sculpere, protrahere, designare, lanire, 
celare, quasi idem significant 

Galbanum * est genus et lac herbe, que dicitur ferula, et est 
quidem color inde de succo ex palmitibus ejus factus, et sic 
dicit Catholicon. 

Gristis color, Gallice sic dictus, est color inter album et 
nigrum, qui Latine elbus yel elbidus dicitur ut in Catholicon, 
set Lombardice yocatur beretinus. 

Grenuspect * herba, cujus decoctio yini aut cervisie crocea 
est, de qua, si temperetur et teretur yiride Grecum, fit pulcrum 
yiride, quod credo esse yiridegris. 

1 The colour here described is Bistre. 

s Fumus — Lamp black. 

s Ferula — See Galbanum. 

4 Galbanum, a liquor or gum produced by a species of ferula in Africa 
and Turkey, called Ferula Galbanifera. 

^ Grenuspect. Sir Thomas Phillips thinks this should be written 
" Grcningwert." 


Gersa^ est color albus^ de quadam terra, vel lapide ikhi 
duro, cocto in fornace factus, qui aliter gipsns yel creta alba 
Yocatur, et ipsa utontur pelliparii, et aliter plastra dicitnr. 
Set etiam pelliparii pocius utuntur alia creta alba, que fit de 
quodam meliori lapide absque coctione albissimo pulveri^ato^ 
Gallice " croye.'* 

Glades* vel glades^ cum ex metallis primum exciduntur, 
gutas argenti vivi exprimunt, pro usu artificum, et sine ipaa 
es neque argentum inaurari possunt. 

Graranda * herba est ad faciendum tincturas lanarum et 
lineorumy et in Ytalico gadus dicitur. 

Gadus ^ herba est, in Gallico garancia dicta, ad faciendum 
tincturas lanarum et lineorum. 

Glassa ' credo quod sit alumen glasse seu glacie. 

Gipsus * est color albus, aliter gersa, et aliter alba creta 
dictus, et est terra seu lapis in fornace usque ad dealbacionem 
decoctus, quo tabule altarium dealbantur ut depingantur. 

Granetus est color de albo et viridi factus. 

Gladius ^ viridis est color viridis fSsu^tus de auripigmento et 
indico mixtus. 

1 This 18 plaster of Paris, the gesso of the Italians. The other stooe is 
our English chalic. 

s I believe this passage is fronf Pliny. See Eraclius, No. 241. 

s Garancia is certainly madder, but its Italian name is Robbia, and not 

4 Gadus. This is a mistake : the French term is Gaude ; the Italian, 
Guado ; the English, Woad — Isatis Tinctoria, 

^ Glassa. In these manuscripts of Le Begue the word Glassa is used in 
two significations : first, it is used to denote Sandarac or Amber, as in Nos. 
208 and 341 ; and, secondly, it is used in conjunction with Alumen, and 
appears to mean crystallized alum simply, or Roche alum, as in Nos. 42 and 

^ Gipsus. Gesso— plaster of Paris. 

7 Gladius viridis. A vegetable green, prepared from the leaves of the 
Gladiolus communis; in Italian, Gladiolo; in French, Glayeul flambe; in 
English, the Corn-flag; in Sicilian, Spatulidda. This pigment was much 
used in Italy. See * Secret! di Alessio,' part ii. p. 37 b. A blue colour 
was made from the flowers of the same plant. 

_ J 


Glaucus est color albus, ut cerusa, que aliter didtur album 
plumbum, aliter blacha, et aliter album Hispame. 

Gaterice ^ Anglice est herba, cujus grana in viuo trita et 
Lullita, si immittatur ferrum eruginatum efficitur color yiridis 
fulgentis et si addatur attramentum niger efficitur. 

Chimma ' edere, lacha est &cta ex succo vel liquore exeunte 
in Marcio de ramis edere herbe arboribus inherentb et re** 
pentis, si aculeo ferro perforentur. 

Holcas " vel olcus est color, qui aliter membrana dicitur, ex 
rubeo, et albo, et pauco yiridis creta compositus ad nuda cor- 
pora et membra humana depingenda. 

Herba morella^^ trita cum gersa seu gipso, id est, creta alba, 
facit colorem viridem. 

Herba mndix^ vocata, est rubea, et de ipsa fit tinctura 
rubea aut sanguinea. 

Herba vaccinium ' vocata duplex est ; una rubea, que tem- 
perata cum lacte purpureum colorem facit elegantem, reliqua 
vero croceum colorem facit. 

Herba viola dicta, cujus flos persus seu blavus est, facit co- 
lorem bla^um si ipse ejus flos misceatur crete albe et teratur. 

Herba que scalda bassa vocatur in janua facit succum si pis- 
tetur et exprimatur, qui mixtus cum arxicon vel arxica, colore 
croceo, fit color yiridis. 

Iris est color («c). 

Indicas yel indicum est color celestinus obscurus. 

1 See ante, Caprifolium. 

* Gumma Edera. Gum from the Ivy. 

s See Theophilus, lib. L cap. i. ; and Pietro di S. Audemar, No. ISO. 

4 Herba Morella (Solanum Nignim) ia here, as in the Bol. manuscript, 
said to make a green colour. 

A Herba sandix — the madder. The word madder is derived from the 
Danish, Swedish, and Russian languages. 

> Herba vaccinium, the violet That from which a yellow colour is 
made is the Viola lutea, the Wall-flower. 



Inoaustum est color quo scribitur, aliter attramentum 
vide in attramento^ id eat factum ex decoctione gallarom Irac 
tarum, et yitriolo at gummi Arabico, aut ex decoctione mirce 
que Tulgariter geneatra dicitur, et dictis vitriolo et gammi 
Arabico et decoctio etiam oorticis hoene ligni aut cereid ligni 
posset convenire, nee non cortex seoundus nigri pruni arboris 
ad hoc per deooctionem adaptaretur cum addicione supra- 
scriptorum vitrioli et gummi Arabici. 

Jos viride dicitur, ut dicit Catholicon. 

Lumina ^ est color ex mixtura membrane et ceruse Ikctus ad 
illuminandum facies et nuda corpora humana in pictura, sea ad 
gibbositates in ipsis elevandos. 

Lacca est gumma quedam, facta de iiquore rubeo, qui exit 
de Iiquore edere, arboribus herente et repente, si rami ipsius 
in mense Marcii aculeo ferreo perforentur. 

Lazurium rel azurium fit de lapide lazuHi ; dicitur aliter 
persuSy aliter celestis vel celestinus, aliter blauctus sen blaaus, 
et aliter ethereua. 

Lueee* herbe succus coloris oerulei est, et alibi dicitur quod 
viridissimus est. 

Lazuli 2czpt>)reperitur in montibus vel partibus et est ce- 

Lapis lazuli ^\est\s coloris sen persi yel blaui et de ipso fit 
pulver qui purificatur et postea est azurium. 

Lapis niger " est, de quo, si satis mollis sit, utuntur pictores 
et carpentarii,, protrahendo ad sie<^um ; et de ipso pingitur 
terendo ad liquidum ; aliter terra nigra dicitur. 

Lignum hraxiUii ^ rubeum sen purpureum colorem reddit si 
in lixivio vel urina aut in claro ovi cum alumine temperetur. 

1 Lamina. See Theophilus, lib. i. 

s Herba Luzza, either the Erba lizza, the Tragopogoo pratenae, yellow 
goat's beard, or the Erba Latea of Pliny, the Reseda Luteola, l>jet*^ weed, 
or weld. 

' Black chalk, or graphite. 

4 The Verzino of the Italians. . 


Leucos Grece, Latine alburn^ ut ait Catholicon, qui color et 
glaucus dicitur. 

Lanirey celare, seulpere, pingere, figurare, protraherej de- 
signare, quasi idem significant, etc. 

Membrana ' est color quo pinguntur fades et nuda corpora 
humana ; aliter olcus dicitur, vel holcus, et aliter camatura. 

Minium^ est color non tarn rubeus ut synopis, set magis 
pallidus, aliter dictus sendracum vel sendaraca. 

Menesck ; " aliqui dicunt quod est color rubeus, minus clarus 
quam minicum, et magis clarus quam synopis ; alii ipsum vocant 
succum, et indici colons est ; aliter dicitur esse succus sambuci, 
qui viridis est. 

Mellana ^ est color cum quo ex lacha seu gumma edere et 
flore farine tritici in urina positus fit rubeus color synopis 

Morella^ lierba trita cum gersa seu creta alba est color 

MelKnus est color metalli speciem habens. 

MoreUus est color ex rubeo et nigro factus. 

Moms Grece, est arbor quam et Latini etiam sic appellant 
cujus fructus morum dicitur, et ejus succus, mixtus cum creta 

1 Membrana. See Theophilus, lib. i. cap. 1, and Fietro di S. Audemar, 
No. 180. 

s The term Sandaraca is sometimes applied to Red orpiment« and some- 
times to Miniam. 

3 Menesch. Mr. Hendrie (Theopb. p. 81) says this is a Romaic word, 
signifying Tiolet coloar ; but I would suggest whether it* may not signify 
** Madder/' the Indian name for which is Mnitach, This, conatmction is 
perfectly compatible with the directions of Theophilus ; and in this case 
it will also agree with the definition in tlie Table of Synonymes, on which, 
however, I acknowledge but little dependence can be placed. 

4 Mellana. In the MS. of S. Audemar this colour is called Sinopis de 
Mellana. It is a kind of lake. 

^ Morella. This is one of the Italian names for the Solanum Nigrum, 
the Black nightshade. It is also called in Italy Solatro Nero, and Cacabo. 
In French it is called ** Morelle,*' *' Morolle des Jardins ;" but it must be 
distinguished from the " Maurelle," the name which the Croton Tine* 
torium bears at Montpellier. 



alba et aliis rebus convenientlbus, simul et separatim, colorem 
roseum et sanguineum faciunt. 

Mirca * est arbor vulgariter dicta genestra, que interpoiiitnr 
fsciendo incaustum ad scribendum. 

Moniculum * est (stc)^ quod intrat ad fiLciendam 

assisiam auri. 

Niffer est color terre nigre, que lapis niger didtur, satb 
mollis ad protrahendum, et color niger est etiam ex carbone 
molito, vel ex fiinio lampadis aut candele &ctus ; aliter ftuscus 
dicitur, et aliter sanccenicus. 

Neveduy* seu veneda est color ex mixtura nigri cum modico 
albo plumbo, et si poni vult in muro, ponatur calx loco dicti 
albi plumbi. 

Nigri pruni cortex secundtis, si decoquatur, &cit colorem 
croceum, et si immittantur in ipsa decoctione debite quantitates 
vitrioli et gummi Arabici, fit attramentum seu incaustum ad 

Niffer color et rufiis color vocantur birsus, ut ait Catholicon, 
et vide in rufus et ravus quod ibi dicitur, ac etiam in birsus. 

Nigri colores^ seu materie eorum, sunt et nominantur ut et 
in hac tabula reperies in locis suis, attramentum^ incaustum, 
iuligo, carbo, lapis niger, fiiscus, fiimus, sanctonicus. 

«, 1 ^ 1 

> est color terre crocee. 
•a, J 



Olckus * color aliter appellatur membrana, ad facies et nuda 
corpora humana depingenda. 

Otter ^ piscis est marinus, cujus sanguis color est rubeus; 
purpureus vocatus. 

1 Mirca. See note to MSS. of St. Audemar, No. 206. 
s Probably Gum ammoniac 

3 See Veneda. 

4 Olcbos. See Pietro di S. Audemaro, No. 180, and Theopbilus, lib.i. 

cap. i. 
ft Tbe purpura of tbe ancients. 


Prasis ^ est creta viridis ut dicit Catholicon. 

JPrasinus* est color rubeus; alii dicunt quod habet simili- 
tudinem viridis coloris et nigri, set Catholicon dicit quod prasin 
Grace, latine dicitur viridis. 

JPosch ' est color ex mixtura prasini^ et rubei combusti, et 
ocre, et modico cenobrio, factus, ad distinguendas partes mem- 
l>rorum humani corporis in membrana colore, set alibi posch 
dicitur fieri ex ogra et viridi simul mixtis. 

JPurpureuSf qui est color rubeus, alitor folium vocatur, — 
▼ide ia folium; et Anglici, in quorum terra nascitur, ipsum 
vocant '^ uuormam ;" fit etiam color purpureus ex lapide silicis 
exustOy et in aceto dum callescit extincto, et oster est certum 
' quid, id est, piscis maris, aut aliud, quo fit color purpureus, 
Tel de sanguine ejus ; et concule maris etiam circumcise pur- 
pureum colorem faciunt, et similiter creta alba infecta radice 
rubea, et sic herba que vaccinium dicitur £acit purpureum 
colorem si cum lacte temperetur. 

Ilruni nigri secandua cortex facit ex decoctione colorem 

ParaUynium est color {Sic). 

Perstis est color aliter celestis, aliter lazurium ?el azurum, 
aliter etbereus, et aliter blauus dictus. 

Pictura translucida* aliter aureola dicta, est color seu 
liquor per quem omnes alii colores transparent, si cum in 
operibus siccayerint ipso liniantur, precipue in stanno attenuate 
et polito. 

Pallidus est color non proprie albus, set declinans aliquan- 
tulum ad obscuritatem. 

Plumlnis albus est color ex plumbo factus, aliter albus 
hispanie, aliter glaucus, aliter cerusa, et aliter blacha dictus. 

1 Probably Terre Verte. 

^ Prasinus, the same as Prasis. See Theophilus, lib. i. cap. ii. 

* Pofich. See Theophilus, lib. i. cap. iii. and vii. ; and Le Begue, 
No. 344. 

4 See the Chapters ' De Confectio Lucidse' and * De Lucide ad Luci- 
das' of the Lucca manoscriptt and Clavicula. 

VOL. I, D 


Plastra est terra yel lapis, qui, decoctns fomaci, albisszmiis 
est, aliter gersa, aliter creta alba, et aliter gipsns. 

Phenix color rubeus est, vel fenix ; et fenioeon Grece, latiiie 

Pumiceus color seu puniceus, aliquantulum differt a duobns 
coloribus, id est, a croceo et citrino, que plus oontinet de 
croceo, et minus de rubeo, quam dtrinno. 

Puniceus vel pumiceus, dicit liber de proprietatibus remm^ 
est color circumdans rubeum colorem, aliter etiam didtnr 
citrinus, qui est color ab eo parum differens que puniceus pliK 
continet de croceo et minus de rubeo quam citrinus. 

Pingere^ lanire, celare, sculpere, figurare, protrahere;, de- 
signare, quasi idem significant. 

Rubeus est color qui ex frondibus silvestribus et aliis materi- 
alibus diversis fit, et diversis in obscuritate, et claritate, et 
aliis varietatibus, ut sunt dicti frondes, et etiam flores, ac terra 
vel creta inibea, et alii colores rubei artificiati ; et Greci igpim 
coctum dicunt, nos vero rubeum vel vermiletum. 

Rosa est color ex mixtura membrane et modico cenobrii et 
modico minii fa^btus ad rubricandas facies et membra bumano- 
rum corporum in pictura, et fit de vermiculo et albo plumbo, 
ac de brasilio et alumine cum urina. 

Ruhi sunt rubei fructus arborum qui apud Grecos moras 
dicuntur, et fructus ipse eorum morum dicitur, ex quibos 
succus, mixtus aliis rebus materialibus, ut crete, seu gipso, 
sanguinei vel rosei colores fiunt. 

Rubea radix^]est de qua rubeus color fit, miscendo cum 

Radix I'vhea jcreta alba, id est, gipso. 

Rubea terra^ seu creta, ex qua trita pingitur* 

Rava color niger est fulvo mixtus, dicit Catholicon. 

Roseus est color rosarum rubearum colori similatus, et aliter 
vide in cocticus, coctus, fulvus, fenix seu phenix vel fenicus aut 
feniceus, per p et h vel fete scribendo, et vide etiam in pur- 
pureas et m folium. 

1 Madder. 


Rufus color ct niger color vocantur birsus ut ait CatholicoiL 

JRavus^ rava, ravum, id est, fulvi color, ut ait Catholicon, et 

Vide ante in fulvus quod ibi aliter dicitur et in eodem Catho- 

licone dicitur ravus talis color, videlicet niger fulvo mixtus, et 

vide advertenter in birsus quod ibi dicitur. 

Rvbei colores seu materie eorum sunt et nominantur ut et in 
hac tabula reperies in locis suis carminium, cinobrium, sinopis, 
coctinus, cocticus, coctus, vermiculus, herba sandix, herba 
vaccinium dicta, folium, succus luchet herbe, mellana, sanda- 
raca, minium, sandix, terra seu creta rubea, fenix seu phenix, 
roseus, et sanguineus; set nota quod colores nominatim in 
fenix seu phenix in roseus et sanguineus differunt a rubeis, et 
est de ipsis coloribus sanguineis aliud capitulum generale 
factum in littera S. in fine. 

Sinopis^ est color magis rubeus quam vermiculus; aliter 
dicitur cenobrium, aliter mellana, et fit de warancia, et aliter 
est^^ui fit ex lacha vel gumma edere, et flore farine bullitis in 
urina ; et aliter sinopis fit ex warancia et lacha suprascripta. 

Saffranus^ qui reddit colorem croceum, dicitur crocus, et 
perfectior qui sit Sicilianus, tarn in colore quam in sapore, qui 
vocatur coriscos. 

Succus* est color trahens ad indicum; alii dicunt esse ru* 
beum minus clarum quam minium et magis clarum quam 

* There was a natural pigment called Sinopia, which is described by 
Pliny and by Ccnnini (cap. 38), and which is also mentioned in the Bo- 
lognese MS. The sinopis of the text was a red lake. 

* Succus. In the ' Secreti di Don Alessio Piemontese/ part 2, p. 37, is 
a recipe for making '' Pezzette morelle '* from the berries of the £buli, or 
Sambuco Salvatico (Dwarf Elder). The pezzette were pieces of rag which 
were dipped into the coloured juice of the elder, and other plants, until they 
absorbed the juice. They were then dried in the shade ; when dry, they 
were then dipped in a solution of alum and again dried. When they were 
required for use, a piece was put into a shell, and a little gum- water being 
poured over it, it was stirred about until the colour was discharged, when 
the rag was thrown away : the colour left, which was transparent, was used 
for painting. 



sinopis, et aliter vocatur menescb, quod aliter dicitur 
menech esse succus sambuci. 

Succus sambuci est color sea liquor yiridis obscuruSy qui 
aliter menech dicitur. 

Succus herbarum est color viridis seu liquor cui sepe ad- 
miscentur alia ad virides colores faciendos. 

Stannum attenuatum album utitur scilicet loco argenti, qui 
caret argento; et loco auri, qui auro caret, depingitur sea 
coloratur croce colore, et ipso utitur. 

Sandaracum ^ seu sandaracha est color minus rubeus quam 
vermiculus, et est aliter minium dictus. 

Scrupulum (Sic). 

Sandix ' genus est herbe rubee de qua fit tinctura ut dicit 

Sandalica est genus coloris. 

Sanguis drachanis ' est color rubeus obscurus seu est color 

Sillacetus* color £t ex violis aridis decoctis, et, expiessa 
aqua, tritis super lapide cum creta alba, id est, gersa. 

Sajireus color est color qidlibet sapbiri lapidis assimilaiB, 
videlicet proprie inter celestem et rubeum, plus ad celestem 
trahens colorem quam ad rubeum. 

Sanctonicus color aliter fuscus dicitur, qui color niger est. 

Sanguineus est color rosarum rubearum colori, ac etiam 
colorum sanguinis assimilatus, et aliter vide in roseus et in 
aliis locis ibi nominatis. 

ScuperCy lenire, celare, pingere, figurare, protrahere, de- 
signare, quasi idem significant, &c. 

Sanguinei colores seu materie eorum sunt et nominantur ut 
et in bac tabula in locis suis reperies, bullarminium, sanguis 

^ Red orpiment is frequently understood by this term. It b used by 
S. Audemar in the terms mentioned in the text. 

s Madder. 

' Dragon's blood. 

* This is a yellow colour, prepared from the Viola lutea, the Wall-6ower, 
and white chalk or gesso. The name in the text b derived from Pliny. 


drachonis, braxillii lignum^ lacca, purpura^ blacca, sanguis 
conchillarum maris, coctus, vermiculus, liquor edere herbe, 
gomma edere, sandix herba, yaccinium herba, mellana, morus, 
oster maris, rosa, rubi, rubea radix, roseus ; et nota quod 
sanguinei colores a rubeis difierunt, ut in capitulo generali de 
rubeis coloribus dictum est in littera R. 

Terretis color fit de cerusa combusta. 

Therdote {sic) Grece, latiue est creta viridis, cujus melior 
nasdtur in creta cirina. 

Terra nigra vel lapis niger mollis est, de quo terendo fit 
color niger; et, non terendo, utuntur carpentarii et pictores 
protrahendo ad siccum. 

Terra sen creta nibea, ex qua trita pingitur. 

Terra vel creta viridis ad pingendum est cujus melior nasci- 
tur in creta cirina, et in Greco" dicitur Theodote, 

Terra vel creta crocea est apta ad pingendum et aliter ocra 
vel ogra dicitur. 

Terra seu creta alba, aliter gersa, aliter gipsus, aliter plastra 
dicitur, qua utuntur pelliparii ; et est alia rubea, alia crocea, 
alia nigra que de terra vel lapide aut creta nigra trita fit, alia 
viridis cujus melior nascitur in creta cirina, et ipsa in Greco 
dicitur theodoce. 

Tavertinus^ albus color, seu lapis qui apte rubificatur, si in 
ligno braxilii, cum urina, vel lexivio, et alumine misceatur. 

Viridis vel viride est color ex diversis factus sicut creta vel 
terra viridis et alii ex herbarum succis et metalli facti virides 

Violaceus vel violetus color est, qui ex rubeo et nigro, aut 
ex rubeo et perso vel lazurio, fit miscendo. 

^ Travertine. A stone dug in many parts of Italy^ particularly in Siena, 
Pisa, Lucca, and near the river Teverone at Tivoli. It Is a i)eculiar kind 
oflimestone, formed by a deposit from the rivers in these districts. It was 
much used in Italy for building, and for making lime. See 1st ' Report of 
Commissioners of Fine Arts,' p. 39, and n 


Warancia^ est color seu materia colons, quia cocta in aqua 
cum lacha seu gumma edere fit quidam color rubeus sinopn 
vocatus et etiam ex ipsa warancia fit color rubeus ad tingen- 
dum pelles parcium. 

Viridis terra seu creta quedam est, cujus melior est que nasd- 
tur in creta cirina, et aliter, videlicet in Greco, theodoce dieitor. 

Violetus est color, qui ex rubeo et perso, seu azurio, mixtus^ 
maxime ex rubeo claro, id est, lacha, et azurio fino fit. 

Vaccinium* est her ba rubea que temperata cum lacte £u3t 
colorem purpureum elegantem, et est quedam alia herba simi- 
liter vaccinium vocata que croceum colorem £Etcit 

Vergavt ' est color qui est quasi ut azurium respecta ooloris, 
Don respectu materie. 

Viola est flos cujusdem herbe persus seu blauus, quo cum 
creta alba fit color blauus, et aliter dlacetus color dictus est. 

Vermiculus * color rubeus est, qui fit ex firondibus silyestri- 
bus, ut dicit Catholicon, et Grece ipsum dicunt coctum ; nos 
vero rubeum vel vermiletum. 

Veneda ^ seu neveda est color factus ex mixtura nigri cum 
modico albi plumbi, et A poni vult in muro, ponatur calx loco 
dicti albi plumbi. 

Vercanda ' nominatur in capitulo libri colorum 342. 

Verblea ^ nominatur in capitulo 345 libri colorum. 

^ Vuarantia. The name by which madder was generally known duiing 
the middle ages, especially in the western parts of Europe. It was called 
''Garance" in French, and **6ranza" in Spanish, whence the tenn 
warantia is apparently derived. 

' Yaccinium, the purple violet. The latter is the Viola lutea, or Wall- 

' Yergaut. See Eraclius, No. 282. Perhaps Yertbleu. 

* By Yermiculus is here meant the kermes, or coocus, the ''gnna" of 
the Italians. 

^ Yeneda, a true grey. See Theophilus, lib. i. cap. vi. 

' In the number referred to this word appears to be written *^ Yemide" 
and ** Yercande/' a proof that this part of the table of synonymes was 
written afler Lc Begue had added his recipes. 

7 Yerblea. Probably Yert-bleu, the Yerde Azzurro of the Italians, a 
native carbonate of oop])er, of a greenish-blue cdour, the Armenian stone of 


Usticiunij nsticii, genus est coloris, ut dicit Catholicon. 

Virides colores sea materie, et metalla eorum, sunt et nomi- 
nantur ut et in hac tabula in locis suis reperies, arxica mixta 
succo yiridi herbarum, cerosius, caprifolium, gaterice, ceruleus, 
succus luree herbe, gladius, herba morella, scalda bassa herba, 
prassis yel prassinus, succus herbarum diversarum, theodote 
terra vel creta viridis, jas, succus rute herbe mixtus cum viride 

Alia Tabula, licet imperfecta et sine iiiicio. 
Quociens ponendi sunt colores in operibus, 147. 

Rosam primam, scilicet colorem sic nominatum facere, 124. 

Rosam secundam, id est^ colorem sic dictum ad differentiam 
prime facere, 128. 

Rosam colorem facere de ligno brixillii et creta alba, 289) 
299, 304. 

Rose colorem cum brexillio et creta alba, 293. * 

. Rosam facere cum ligno brexillii absque creta alba set cum 
aliis, 14, 15, 16, 17, 334. 

Roseum sen sanguineum colorem facere, 234, 14, 15, 16, 
17, 184, 218, 289, 299, 304, 293. 

Roseas litteras scribere, 16. 

Roseam aquam facere de brexillo, 20. 
. Bubeam quam facere ad pingendum in telis, 91, 93. 

Rubeum succum edere herbe arboribus repentis lacham dic- 
tum facere vel habere, 184, 218. 

Rubeum minium ex cerusa facere, ct cerusam etiam facere, 

Rubificare ossa ligna et alia matcrialia^ 51, 335. 

Safranum sen crocum finum eligere sen cognoscere ct dis- 
temperare, 165, 331. 


Sanguineus color qui lacha dicitur quomodo de ligno brex- 
iUii fit, 309. 

Sanguineum vel roseum colorein qui lacha dicitur ikcere^ 
184, 218, 332, 11, 12, 13, 16, 37, 100, 181, 309, 332. 

Sanguineum tcI roseum colorem facere, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18i, 
218, 289, 299, 293, 334, 309. 

Sanguine vel roseo colore tingere materialia, 42, 326. 

Scribendo apti colores diyersi quomodo de campestribus 
floribus fiunt, 212. 

Scribere litteras aureas non cum auro set cum colore, 25. 

Scripturam argenteam absque argento £Acere, 321. 

Scripturam auream et argenteam absque auro et argento 
facere, 324. 

Scribere litteras argenteas de petnla argenti, 24, 320. 

Scribere litteras auro molito, 217, 219, 320, 323, 328, 336, 
339, 310. 

Scripturas et picturas de auro molito facere, 310. 

Scripturas auro, argento, et lotono moUitis facere, 312. 

Scripturam stanneam de stanno molito facere, 185. 

Scribere litteras roseas, 16. 

Scribere virides litteras, 28, 199, 221. 

Sculpa opera lignea que corio, panno, nee pergameno, oo- 
operiuntur, ut rotunde ymagines, selle equestres, scabella, et 
alia talia opera pingere, 140. 

Sellas equestres, scabellas, ymagines rotundas et alia opera 
lignea sculpa que pergameno nee drapo cooperiri possunt prop- 
ter sculpturas in ipsis factas pingere, 140. 

Senum decrepitorum et juvenum capillis et barbis colorem 
aptum facere, 132. 

Sigilli formam facere, 49. 

Sinopis quis color sit, 179. 

Sinopidem de mellana colorem facere, 182. 

Sinopidem ex lacha et Warancia facere, 183. 

Spongia vitellura ovi parare, 270. 

Stanneam scripturam de stanno molito facere, 185. 

Stannum atenuatum, id est, petulas stanni facere, 143, 205. 


Stannum atenuatum cum petula ami fini aurare, 105> 142. 

Stanneas petulas in opere ponere et eas coloribus oleo tem- 
peratis pingere, 145. 

Stannum tenuatum seu petulas stanni colore verzini seu 
brixilli pingere, 101. 

Stanni petulas vel folia seu laminas colorare taliter quod 
aurate videantur, 144, 202, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209. 

Stampnence folium colorem purpureum in Anglia Wormam 
dictum distemperare seu facere, 162, 164, 166. 

Succum rubeum edre herbe arboribus rcpentis lacham dic- 
tum habere, 184, 218. 

Tabulas seu laminas stagni tenuatas que petule vocantur 
facere, 143, 205. 

Tabulas seu laminas stanni tenuatas que petule vocantur 
colorare taliter quod aurate videantur, 144, 202, 205, 206, 
207, 208, 209. 

Tabulas seu laminas stanni tenuatas que petule vocantur 
ponere in opere et eas coloribus oleo temperatis pingere, 145. 

Tabulas et asseres ligneas et ligna aptare ad pingendum, 
268, 269. 

Tabulas altarium et alias pingere, 131. 

Tabulas et ostia et alia lignea opera cum coloribus oleo tem- 
peratis pingere, 138. 

Tellam lineam aut canapinam preparare ut possit in ipsa 
pingi et aurum poni, 280. 

Tellas rubea aqua pingere, 91, 93. 

Tellas violacea aqua pingere, 95. 

Tellas aqua indica vel persea pingere, 97. 

Tellas viridi aqua pingere, 90, 94, 98, 99, 110, 199. 

Tellas aqua nigra pingere, 89. 

'Hngere quelibet materialia in quolibet colore, 326, 41, 40, 

46, 199, 42. 

Temperamenta colorum in libris ponendorum facere et de 
quibus liquoribus, 197, 306, 325, 346, 347. 


Temperare oolores qui cum goma sea aqua gomata tempe- 
rari non poasunt, quo modo fit, 146. 

Terreas fialas preciosa piciura bituminis vitri facta omare, 

Tingere in sanguineo colore materialia, 42, 326. 

Tingere pelles in viride, 46, 199, 326. 

Tingere in viridi ligna ossa tellam et alia nutterialia in qiio- 
cumque colore, 41. 

Tollere litteras de carta et papiro, 2, 17, 21, 34. 

Translucidam picturam facere, 148. 

Temperamentum colorum tarn infectirorum seu transluci- 
dorum quam corpulentorum vel simplicium seu materialium 
facere ad eos ponendum in opere seu stampno et plumbo vel 
super metallis aliis stampnatis vel plumbeatiB aut simplicibos 
per se videlicet non stampnatis nee plombeatis nee aliquo alio 
ex metallis co-opertis, 368.^ 

Vasa figuli id est terrea plumbeare seu vitreare vitro plumbi, 

. Vasorum fictilium pingendonim picturam vitri nigri fiicere, 

Vasorum fictilium, id est, terreorum pingendorum picturam 
albi vitri facere, 229> 233. 

Vasorum fictilium depingendorum picturam viridis vitri &- 
cere, 228, 232. 

Vasorum fictilium pingendo picturam vitri nimis viraitis 
facere, 231, 234. 

Vasa fi^cta terrea et lapides integrare, 8. 

Venedam alibi venedam colorem facere, 126, 330. 

Vemicem liquidam, id est glutinam pro pictoribus facere, 
341, 138, 139, 210. 

, Viride eris facere, 8, 43, 44, 152, 155, 156, 157, 159, 201, 
273, 287, 300, 331. 

* Iste liber non est completus usque ad ilium numerum. — [Marginal note 
by author.] 


Viride ens pulcherrimam facere, 45, 161. 

Viride ens colorem cum sale facere, 150. 

Yiride eris distemperare et facere, 152, 331. 

Viride eris subtiliare et liquidum facere, 160. 

Viridi eris mixturas aliorum colonim in fine capitnli sen 
post capitulum, 159. 

Viridem colorem facere cum corpore et non corrosivum sed 
dulcem, quamvis in ipso sit de viride eris quod de se corrosivum 
est, 301, 331. 

Virides litteras scribere cum colore cum viride eris facere, 

Viridem aquam ex viride eris et aliis facere ad pingendum 
in tellis, 90, 94, 98, 99, 331. 

Viridi eris tingere pelles, 46, 331. 

Viridia cum viride eris et aliorum facere ligna ossa telam 
filum et alia materialia> 40, 81* 

Viridem alium quam eris facere, 158, 199, 221, 227, 331^ 
395. 398. 

Virides litteras scribere cum colore non de ere, 199, 221, 
227, 331, 295, 158. 

Viridem aquam vel colorem non eris ad scribendum fecere, 
199, 221, 227, 331, 395, 158. 

Viridem aquam aliter quam de viride eris facere ad pingen- 
dum in telis, 110, 199, 221. 227, 331, 295, 158. 

Viridem colorem aliter quam de ere facere ad detingendum 
pelles, 199, 110, 221. 

Viridem colorem non de ere facere pro operando indiversis, 
295, 331, 227, 199, 110, 221, 158. 

Viridem colorem absque ere ad que volueris depingenda fa- 
cere, 227, 295, 331, 227, 199, 110, 158, 221. 

Viride terreum distemperare, 265. 

Viride vitrum ad vasa fietilia depingenda facere, 228, 232. 

Virentem nimis vitrum ad vasa fietilia depingenda facere, 
231, 234. 

Vitri invendo, 255. 


Vitnim flexibilem facere inyenit quidam qui ideo jossa 
ratoris, decapitatns fidt, 256.^ 

y itriare vitro plombi, id est, plombeare yasa figoli id est 
rea, 259. 

y itri bitumine precioea tinctura facta terreas fialas yitriare 
et oraare, 213. 

yitmm album ad vasa fictilia pingenda faoere, 229, 233. 

yitrum album et de diyersis coloribus facere, 257. 

yitrum viride ad vasa fictilia, id est, figuli pingenda facere^ 
228, 232. 

yitrum nimis virentem ad vasa figuli seu fictilia depingenda 
facere, 231, 234. 

yitrum nigrum ad vasa fictilia depingenda faoere, 230. 

yitrum pingere, 272. 

yitrum coloribus colorare et ipsum de plumbo facere, 271. 

yitreas et terreas fialas auro decorare, 215. 

yermiculum facere quod est color rubeus, 174, 175. 

yermiculi mixto cum roinio, 177. 

yernicium seu vemicem liquidam vel glutinam facere est 
post numerum 138 ; item est in numero 139, 210. 

yemiciare aurum ne perdat colorem, 267. 

yemiciare opera depicta, 147. 

yerzinum facere colorem, id est brixillii pro tenendo ad po- 
nendum in opere quando necesse est, 202. 

yerzini colorem facere proponendo super argento aut super 
staDno tenuato, 101. 

yioletam aquam facere ad pingendum in telis, 95. 

yitellum ovi spongia parare, 270. 

yiscum seu gluten vel coUam de eorio bovis vel vaooe br 
cere, 186. 

yiscimi casei seu coUam aut gluten facere, 127, 163. 

Warencia colore rubeo pelles tingere, 258. 

' Malum premium. — [Marginal note by author.] 


Vultiim et nudorum corporum colores, scilicet exedram yel 
posam et alios facere, 133, 317, 344. 

Worniam colorem sic in Anglia nominatum qui est aptos ad 
tingendum lannas est purpureus, aliter folium dictus distem- 
perare, 162, 164. 

Tabula ad beperiendum quodlibet capitulum arcium 
fabulis et aurifabulis et rerum et accidencium illis 
conferencium nee non operum exerciciorum que et 
contingencium eorum. 

Aqua cavans ferrum, 64. 

Anna et alia ferramenta conservare a rubigine, 69, 348. 
Attribudo cujuslibet ex metallis alicui ex septem planetis 
oontinetur post numerum, 46. 

Aurare cuprum fellis pinguedine seu liquore, 226. 
Aurare auricalcum, 249. 
Aurare metalla fiisilia, 252. 
Aurare ferrum, 237, 238. 
Auraturam facere, 253. 
Auraturam metalli perditam recuperare. 
Aurei coloris femim facere, 67. 
Aureo colore metallos colorare, 66. 
Auricalcum aurare, 249. 
Auricalcum facere, 49. 
Auricalcum seu lathonum solidare, 65. 
Auricalcum seu lathonum pulcrum facere sicut aurum, 82. 
Aurum et argentum fondere, 365. 
Argentum et aurum fondere, 365. 

Azarium et ferrum temperare, 57, 58, 61, 62, 83, 84, 223, 
333, 364. 

( 46 ) 


1. Know that gold letters are thus written with the following 
water. Take of sulphur vivum, of the inner hark of the pome- 
granate, of alum, salt, and gold dust (?), as much as you like, 
and liquid gum water and a little saffron. Mix, and write. 

2. To erase black letters upon paper. — Make a water from the 
following things. Take nitre, and Roman vitriol, of each one 
pound, and distil them in an alembic, and a clear water will 
be produced ; with this water slightly moisten a spongy, and 
rub the letters with it.^ 

3. To make fine azure. — Take plates of fine silver, and pot 
them into a new jar ; cover the jar closely with a tile, and place it 
in the skins of the grapes for 40 days ; then scrape off the 
efflorescence, which you will find upon the plates, and which is 
fine azure. 

4. Also azure which is not fine is made in another way. — Put 
vinegar into a glass bottle, the mouth of which must be well 
covered with tenacious earth, and let it be buried in horse dung 
for a month, and afterwards dry it in the sun. 

5. To make azure. — ^Take a vase of pure copper, and put into 
it a colour [pigment] made of white marble (some recipes say 
quicklime) so as to half fill it. Afterwards fill it up with very 
strong vinegar, cover it over, and put in a warm place, or under 
dung, for a month, and you will find a blue good both for panels 
and walls. 

6. JFor the same. — ^Take a new glazed jar, or a vase of silver, 
and put into it plates of very pure silver, as many as you like, 
rubbed over" with good wine, and place the jar under the refuse 

' Tho produce of this duitillation is nitric add. 
* From sborfato, a Bolognese word. 

( 47 ) 


1. Nota quod auree littere Bcribuntur sic, cum ista aqua ; 
accipe sulphur vivum, et corticem interiorem mali granati, 
aluminis, saltis, et de pluvia auri, tantum quautum vis, et 
aquam gununi liquide, et modicum de croco, et misce^ et scribe. 

2. Ad delendum litteras nigras de carta, — Fac aquam de* in- 
frascriptis rebus. Accipe salniterum, et vitriolum Romanum, 
de quolibet libram unam, et distilla per alembicum, et erit 
clara aqua, et cum ipsa aqua balnea spougiam modicum, et de 
ipsa fiica litteras. 

3. Ad faciendum azurium finum, — Recipe laminas argenti 
fini, et pone in oUa nova, et cooperiatur bene cum tegula^ et 
pone ollam in vinariis uvarum per dies xl*, et flos quem re- 
pereris super laminas radde, quod est azurium finum. 

4. Item aliter azurum nan finum fit. — Ponatur acetum in 
ampulla vitrea, cujus orificium bene cooperiatur cum terra 
tenaci, etsepeliatur in fimo equino perunum mensem, et postea 
siccetur ad solem. 

5. Ad faciendum azurrum. — Recipe ampullam de puro 
cupro et pone intus colorem de albo marmore, ita ut sit dime- 
dia ; et in aliis receptis dicitur calx viva. Postea imple de 
aceto fortissimo, et cooperiri, et pone in loco calido, yel sub 
fimo, per mensem, et invenies azurrum bonum, in ligno, et in 

6. Ad idem. — Habeas ollam novam incretatam, vel vas ar- 
genti, et immitte laminas argenti purissimi, quot vis, brofatas 
bono vino ; et mitte vas in profundo viaziarum,' per dies 

^ Id est infrascriptum et scribitur ut supra causa brcvitati8.— [ Marginal 
note by author.] « Vindemiarum ? 


of the grapes for 36 or 40 days ; and afterwards scrape or shake 
off into a clean vase the e£3orescence which you find round aod 
about the plates, which efflorescence is preserved upon the plates, 
in the same manner as rust upon iron, and verdigris upon plates 
or in vases of brass. 

7. To make azure. — ^Take very thin plates of fine silver, as 
many as you like. You must also have a glazed earthen jar, with 
a cover; and on the middle of the under part of this cover there 
must be a small hook, to which you must hang the silver plates 
with a silver thread, so that they may not touch each other ; 
and put very strong vinegar into the said jar, so as not to touch 
the plates, but to reach near them ; and close carefully the said 
cover with a piece of linen and with glue, and put the jar for 
15 days under dung, or over a slow fire or under the refuse of 
grapes. Afterwards scrape off the azure which you find upcm 
the plates, and if you want more azure, do the same with the 
plates as you did before. 

8. Green from copper or brass is made in the same manner 
with plates of brass, as was directed to be done with silver plates 
to make blue. 

9. To make perfect azure. — ^Take an earthen jar with a cover 
similar to that in which ceruse is made, and take sheets or plates 
of fine tin, wetted with strong vinegar, and sprinkled over with 
powdered white quicklime, place the vase, with the aforesaid 
plates, in the dung of sheep or horses, for 10 days, and dien 
scrape off the efflorescence which you find on the tin plates, and 
if you want more of it, put back the jar with the plates as before. 

10. To make perfect ultramarine azure. — ^Take of lapis lazuli 
as much as you like, and grind it very fine upon a porphyry slab. 
Then make a cake or pastille of the following ingredients, 
namely, if there is one pound of lapis lazuli, take vi. oz. of Greek 
pitch, ij. oz. of maslic, ij. oz. of wax, ij. oz. of black pitch, ij. oz. of 
gum from the pine, 1 oz. of oil of spike or of linseed, and i oz. 
of turpentine. All these things must boil in a pipkin until they 
are nearly liquefied, aft;erwards strain them into cold water, and 
take what drops into the water through the strainer, and knead 


xxxvi. yel xl^; postea excucias seu raddas in vas mundum 
florem quern inyeneris in cercuita laminarum, qui flos conser* 
vatur super ipsis laminis, sicut fit rubigo super ferro, et viride 
eris super laminas vel in vasis ens. 

7. Adfaciendum azurrum. — Recipe laminas argenti fini quot 
vis subtilissimas, et habeas vas terre vitriatum cum coperculo, 
et in parte inferiori dicti coperculi sit unus uncinellus in medio, 
cui suspendas laminas suprascriptas cum filo argenteo, taliter 
quod lamine non se tangant invicem ; et in vase mitte acetum 
fortissimum, tantum quod non tangat ipsas laminas, set stet 
prope ; et optura bene dictum coperculum cum pecia lini, et 
cum cola, et pone vas sub fimo per xv^"^ dies, vel ad ignem 
temperatum, vel sub vinariis ; postea radde azurum quod in- 
veneris super laminas, et, si plus velis, fac iterum de ipsis lami- 
nis ut fecisti. 

8. Ad viride rami seu eris. — Fiat eo modo de laminis eris, ut 
supra dictum est de argenteis pro azurro. 

9. Adfaciendum azurrum perfectum. — Accipe vas terrenum, 
cum coperculo tali, ut illud de quo fit cerusia, et babe laminas 
seu plactas fini stagni, balneatas aceto forti, et sparsas alba calce 
viva pulverizata, et pone vas, cum laminis suprascriptis in ipso, 
in fimo pecorum vel equorum, per decem dies ; postea radde 
florem quem invenies super laminis^ et, si plus vis, repone vas 
cum laminis, ut prius. 

10. Ad faeiendum azurrum uUramarinum perfectum. — Re- 
cipe de lapide lazuUi quantum vis, et teres super lapide porfirico 
subtiUssime, et fac massam seu pastilum ex rebus insertis; 
videlicet, A dictus lapis est libra una accipe oncias vj. picis 
Grace, oncias ij. masticis, oncias ij. cere, oncias ij. picis nigre, 
oncias ij. gummi pini, onciam j. olei spici vel lini, et onciam i 
trementinse, que omnia buliant in uno pignatello, usque dum 
quasi sint strinta [strutta ?], et postea cola in aqua frigida, et tolle 
quod cadit in aqua, quod est celatum, et deducas, et misces bene 

VOL. I. * E 


and mix. it well with the powder of the lapis lazuli until it b 
well incorporated ; and so let it stand for Tiij. days ; and the 
longer it stands, the better and finer will be the azure. After- 
wards work this paste in your hands, throwing it into water, and 
keep the first water by itself, and the second by itself, and tlie 
third also by itself. And when you see the azure sink to the 
bottom, pour off the water, and keep the azure. 

11. To make fine lake. — ^Take the ashes of oak,^ and make 
a ley, and boil in it clippings of fine scarlet of rubea de grana* 
until the colour is extracted from the clippings, and then stnin 
the ley with the colour through a Imen cloth. Afterwards take 
some more ley, similar to what you first took, and heat it, and 
put into it some finely powdered roche alum, and let it stand 
until the alum is dissolyed. Then strain it through the strainer 
with the other liquor or ley in which the clippings were put, and 
immediately the ley will be coagulated, and make a lump or 
mass, which you must stir well. Remove it afterwards from the 
vase, and lay it on a new hollow brick, whidi will absorb the 
ley, and the lake will be left dry. You must afterwards take 
it ofi^ the brick and keep it for use. 

12. Also to make lake, — Take 1 oz. of lac, which is a certain 
gum called lac, or take some of the grana with which scariet 
cloths are dyed, and steep it in ley, or in urine, so as to 
cover over the lac, or the grana, and let it boil for half an 
hour on a moderate fire without smoke, namely, with smith's 
charcoal, stirring it continually with a stick whilst it boils. Af- 
terwards take \ an oz. of roche alum and \ an oz. of sal gem, 
and grind them well with ley, and put them into the vase befere 
it ceases to boil. Then remove the vase firom the fire, and let 
it cool. Afterwards take a glazed jar, and a little mine, or 
strong ley, and empty the before-mentioned jar into it, and stir 
or shake it every evening and every morning, and after 15 days 

* The Turkey oak, the Cerro of the Italians. 

* Strictly speaking, *' Rubea " means madder, and ''Grana" kerines; 
but as it appears that at this period the kermcs was generally used in 


illud per dictum pulyerem lapidis lazuli, donee bene incor- 
porentur omnia, et sic stent per viii^dies, et, quanto plus stete- 
rint, tanta azurrum erit melius, et magis finum ; et postea de- 
due banc massam per manus, proiciendo cum aqua, et primam 
aquam senra per se, et secundam per se, et tertiam per se. Et, 
postquam yideris azurrum descensum ad fundum, proice aquam 
et retine azurrum. 

11. Ad faciendum lacham finam. — ^Tolle dneres ligni cerri, 
vel roboris, et fac ledvium, et in ipso £bu3 bulire dmaturam 
scarlate fine rubee de grana, tantum quod ex dicta dmatura 
extractus sit color ; postea ipsum lesdvium, cum dicta dma- 
tura, colla per pannum lineum ; postea acdpe de alio lexivio 
simili suprascripti quod prius acoepisti, et calefac, et pone in 
ipso de alumine roche trito subtiliter, et permitte donee alum^n 
sit fusum, postea cum dicto colatoijo cola ipsum in dicta alia 
coUatura vel lexivio, in quo stetit cymatura, et subito dictum 
lessivium stringetur, et fadet unam bussaturam sen massam, 
quam mistica bene, et postea trahe ipsam de vase, et pone in 
madono concavo novo, qui bibet lessivium, et remanebit sicca 
dicta lacha, quam postea trahe de madone et serva usui. 

12. Item ad faciendum lacham. — ^ToUe unciam unam lache, 
que est quedam gumma dicta lacha, vel accipe de grana de qua 
tinguntur scarlate, et pone in lissivio vel urina viri, tanta que 
coperiat lacham sen granam, et fac bullire per mediam horam 
ad ignem temperatum, absque fumo, videlicet cum carbonibus 
fabrorum, deducendo cum baculo semper dum bulit Postea 
tolle onciam ^ aluminis roche, et onciam j salis geme, et mole 
bene cum lexivio, et postea pone in vase suprascripto antequam 
cesset bulire. Postea leva vas ab igne, et permitte frigidari. 
Postea tolle unum vas vitriatum, et unum paucum urini homi- 
nis, vel de lessivio fortissimo, et mitte simul de super vase, et 
deduc vel agita omni sero et omni mane, et post xv^"^ dies cola 

dyeing scarlet, and as the recipes for making this ** Lacca di Cimatura " 
generally direct the clippings of cloth dyed with kermcs to be used, it is 
probable that the kermes was meant in the present case, and not madder. 

VOL. I. * E 2 



strain it by means of a linen bag placed upon a new tile, which 
will immediately dry the lake, which will remain in the ba^ 
and wliich you may keep for use, and when you wish to use it, 
grind it well upon a slab, and work with it And if you like 
strain the water again, as before directed ; and, if you wish to 
make more lake, boil the said water, and take more of the 
before-mentioned ingredients, and do as before, and it will be 
finer than the first mentioned above. 

13. To make very fine lake. — Take dippings of tctj fine 
scarlet of rubea de grana, and put them into a vase, with suffi- 
cient urine to cover the clippings to the depth of one or 
two fingers* breadths, and let it stand for some days, until 
the clippings are decomposed, which you may know by touching 
them with your hand or your fingers. Afterwards take them 
out of the vase, without squeezing them, and put them on a 
clean stone, and allow the liquor to flow out by itself. Then 
grind it well upon a stone, and strain it through a thin piece €i 
linen, and you will have fine lake, to use upon paper, parch- 
ment, and upon primed wooden panels, but not on walk. 

14. To make a fine rose colour. — ^Take fine brezillium, and 
scrape it fine, and take strong ley made with the ashes of oak, 
and make it boil, and pour it over the said verzino into a glazed 
earthen saucer, so as to cover the brexillium, and let it stand 
for an hour. Then take egg-shells, pound them well, and 
grind them very fine on a porphyry slab with clear water, and 
lay tliem on a new hollow brick, that the water may be ab- 
sorbed. Afterwards put them into a glazed earthen jar, and 
pound up some roche alum, and mix with the powdered egg- 
shells ; afterwards strain the ley in which the vendllium is put, 
and pour the ley which is dyed red with the verzilium upon 
the egg-shells, and mix, that the whole may be incorporated 
together ; and afterwards dry the lake, not in the sun, but on 
a hollow brick, straining it through a linen cloth, and you will 
have a perfect rose colour. 

15. Also, to make a colour deeper than rose colour. — Take 
1 oz. of scraped verzino and put it in a glazed saucer, with 


cum saculo telle lini, poBito super tegula nova, que subito sicca^ 
bit lachaxn, que remansit in saculo, quam seira ad usum ; et 
cum voles uti, mole bene super lapide, et operare. Et, A vis, 
recola dictam aquam, prout dictum est; et si plus volueris 
facere, fac bulire dictam aquam, et accipe de novo de rebus 
supradictis, et fac ut prius, et erit ista finior quam suprascripta. 

13. Ad faciendum lacham JimsHmam. — ^Accipe dmaturam 
acarlate fine rubee de grana, et pone in vase cum tanta urina 
liominis, que cooperiat cimaturam quantum est grossitudo diglti 
unius vel duorum, et stet per plures dies, donee dicta cimatura 
sit bene putrefacta, cujus putrefactionem cognosces tangendo 
cum manu vel digitis. Postea trahe ipsam de vase absque 
ipsam exprimere, et pone super mondo lapide et dimitte ipsam 
per se excolare. Postea mole ipsam bene super lapide, postea 
cola per peciam subtilem lini, et habebis lacham finam pro 
operendo in cartis et in tabulis gissatis, set non in muro. 

14. Ad faciendum colorem ro$ete fine. — ^Accipe berxillium 
finum, et rade subtiliter, et accipe de lessivio forti facto de 
dneribus cerri, quod fac bullire, et ipsum mitte desuper dicto 
versino, in una scutella terre vitreata tantum quod cooperiat 
verxillium, et stet per horam ; postea accipe corticas ovorum, 
et trita bene, et moUe super lapide porfirico cum aqua clara 
subtiliter, et pone super madono concave novo ut aqua de- 
cicetur. Postea pone in scutella vitriata, deinde pista de 
almnine roche, et misce cum dictis corticis tritis, et postea cola 
lissivium in quo est verxillium, et lessivium illud rubefactum 
a veridlio mitte desuper dictas corticas, et misce ut incorpo- 
rentur omnia, et postea desica, non ad solem, set super madono 
concavo, colando per tellam, et habebis perfectam rosetam. 

15. Ad faciendum etiam colorem plusquam de roxeta. — Acdpe 
onciam h verzini rasi, et pone in scutella vitriata cum tanta 

VOL. I. * E 3 


sufficient urine to coyer it, and make it boil, on a cfa^- 
coal fire, for an hour; then, before you take it off the fire, 
add 1 oz. of honey, and mix it ; then remove it from the lire, 
and leave it so until the next morning, and you will hare a fine 
rose colour. 

16. To make a rose colour for drawing letters. — Take red 
brexillium, and roche alum ground upon a stone, and put tbem 
both together in whipped white of egg, and let it stand for a 
day and a night, and you will have what was mentioned. 

17. Item, to make a rose colour. — Put into a glazed saneer 
1 oz. of scraped verzino, and pour in enough urine to oorer 
the verzino and the ingredients which are to be added after- 
wards. Then add 1 oz. of white marble, ground upon a stcnie 
with water, and dried, and J oz. of roche alum in powder; 
and when putting the before-mentioned ingredients into the 
saucer, let the last thing which is added be the marble dusL 
Do not mix it until it has stood in the sun long enough for the 
marble to imbibe the colour ; and if it should dry in the son 
before the marble has absorbed the colour, add to it some 
more of the same urine as before, and let it stand in the snn 
until the marble is sufficiently coloured, and it will become 
red, or rose coloured. Afterwards strain it through a linen 
cloth, and dry it upon a baked stone or brick, and keep it 
for use. 

18. To make flowers and letters of gold. — Take sal ammo- 
niac, and temper with pure water ; then write with that watff 
and draw flowers, and, when they are dry, lay gold leaf upon 

19. To make the colour purpurinus. — Take of sal ammoniac 
1 oz., quicksilver 1 oz., sulphur rivum 1 oz., tin 1 oz. ; melt tbe 
tin over the fire, then pour the quicksilver into it, and allow it 
to stand for a short time ; next grind the sal ammoniac and 
sulphur together, and add them to the melted tin and quick- 
silver ; put them all together into a glass flask, so that it may 
be filled only up to the neck, and then cover the flask all over 
with chalk, of the thickness of one finger's breadth ; place it 


Urina honiinis que cooperiatnr, et fac bulire ad ignem car* 
bomtm per horam ; poetea, antequam leves ab igne, ondamque 
j« melliS) et misce^ et leva ab igne, et dimitte sic usque de 
mane aequenti, et habebis colorem rosete fine. 

16. Ad faciendum eolorem roxeutn pro 9cribendo littercu, — 
Accipe vexilium roxeum, et alumen roxie tritum super lapide, 
et pone omnia in clara o?i spangiata, et stet per diem et noc- 
teniy et habebis quod dictum est 

17. Item ad faciendum colorem raxaceum, — Pone in seutella 

Titriata ondam i. rerzini rasi, et pone tantam urinam pueri 

que cooperiri possit dictum Terzinum, et alia que seeuntur ; 

postea impone onciam i. marboris aibi, triti super lapide cum 

aqua dara, et necaJd, et ondam J^ aluminis roche triti, et ulti- 

mum quod pouetur in dicta seutella, ponendo in ipsa ea que 

dicta sunt, sit dictus marmor tritus ; et non misceas, donee 

steterit ad solem tantura quod marmor ceperit colcrem, et si 

dcaretur ad solem antequam marmor cepisset colorem, pone 

iterum de simili urina ut prius, et stet ad solem donee marmor 

ceperit colorem, et derenerit rubeus seu roxaceira. Postea 

cola per panmmi lineum, et fac siccari cum lapide cocto seu 

madraio, et senra ad usom. 

18. Ad faciendum flares et litteras oteri.-— Acdpe sal armo* 
ttiacum, et distempera in aqua pura, et de ilia aqua scribe, et 
be flores, et cum desxcate sint, pone desuper folium auri. 

19. Ad faciendum purpurinum colorem, — Acdpe sal armo- 
niacum ondam i., argentum vivium onciam i., sul{rirar vivium 
onciam i., Stangnum ondam i., et fonde dictum Stagnum ad 
ignem, et in ipso mitte argentum vivum, et dimitte stare ali- 
quaatulum, et mote dictum sal armoniacum et sulphur simul ; 
et pone in dicto stagno liquefiicto^ in quo est argentum vivum, 
et omnia pone in ampula vitri, quod ex ipsis impleatur solum 
usque ad coUum, et sic ipsa ampula, circumlinita de creta 



in a small furnace, in a bole at the top of the furnace made 
for this purpose, so that the flask may only be half way throog^ 
the hole, and then, by means of a hole made in the side of 
the furnace, make a strong fire in it, and coyer the mouth cf 
the flask with a plate of iron, pierced, in order that the Tapoor 
may escape from the flask, and continue the fire strongly until 
the fumes cease to come from the flask. Then remove it from 
the fire, let it cool, break the flask, and take your purpurinns ; 
and when you want to use it, temper it with gum- water or 
with whipped white of egg. 

20. To make a rose-coloured toaterfor shading figtares and aiher 
things, — Put scraped verzino into whipped white of egg, and 
let it stand for a day. Then strain and squeeze through a 
cloth, and temper what passes through with pure water : shade 
whatever you like with it, both on parchment and on paper. 
I think that the colour will not be extracted from the said 
brexillium or verzino, unless a little roche alum be added. 

21. To erase letters on parchment witJiout injury to the paper* 
— Take a hare's skin and dress it, and salt it down, afterwards 
dry it over the smoke of a fire, and reduce it to powder ; put 
some of this powder upon the letters which you wish to erase, 
and rub them with pumice-stone, and the letters will be erased 
without injury to the paper. 

22. To make letters which will seem to he of gold. — ^Make a 
small hole in a hen's egg, and take out the white only, and fill 
the egg with quicksilver ; close up the opening carefully, place 
it under hot dung for 40 days. Then remove the quicksilver, 
and take 1 oz. of crystal and reduce it to a very fine powder, 
and incorporate it with the yolk of the egg. Then, with this 
composition smear the paper, or whatever else you want, and 
when it is dry rub gold or silver upon it, and it will remain of 
the colour of gold or silver. 

23. Thai letters may seem to be of gold. — Mix sal nitrinum 
with water and write upon parchment, and illuminate it wiA 
juice of celandine and warm the paper, and the letters will 
appear like gold. 


groBsa, per groeseciam unius digiti, quam pone in parva fornace 
per foramen fornacis snperius, propter hoc factum, ita quod 
dicta ampula descendat in dicto foramine solum usque ad 
medium ampule ; et postea, per aliud foramen factum a latere 
dicte fornacis, immitte, et fac ignem fortem, et cooperi orificium 
ampule cum lamina ferri forata, ut exeat fumus ampule, et 
continua fortem ignem usque quo fumus ampule cessaverit 
exire, et tunc leva ab igne, et dimitte fngidari, et rumpe 
ampulam, et accipe purpurinum, et ipsum, cum vis operari, 
distempera cum aqua gummata, vel cum clara ovi spongiata. 

20. Ad faciendum aquam roxeaceam pro umbrando ymagines 
et alia. — Pone de verxino raso, in albumine ovi spongiato, et 
stet per diem. Postea cola per telam, stringendo, et quod 
exierit distempera cum aqua pura, et umbra quod vis, in carta, 
et papiro. Credo quod color non exibit a dicto brexillo, seu 
verzino, nisi ponatur de alumine roze. 

21. Ad delendum Htteras de carta absque lesione carte. — 
Accipe cossam leporis, et decoria ipsam, et postea in salla, et 
desicca ad fumum ignis, et pulveriza, et posito de ipso pulvere 
super litteris quas raddere vis, trahe desuper pumicem, et 
radetur absque lesione carte. 

22. Ad faciendum litteras, que videantur esse de auro, — Fac 
in ovo galine foramen parvum, et extrahe albumen solum, et 
postea reple ovum argento vivo, et claude bene foramen ovi, et 
ipsum pone sub fimo calido per dies xl* ; postea extrahe ar- 
gentum vivum, et accipe onciam i. cristalli, et pulreris subtilis- 
sime, et incorpora cum dicto vitello. Dein cum dicta pasta 
unge cartam aut quidquid vis, et, cum siccarerit, frica de- 
super cum auro vel argento, et remanebunt colons ami vel 

23. Ut littere videantur de auro — Incorpora salnitrinum 
cum aqua, et scribe in carta, et inlumina cum suco celidonie, 
et calefac, et videbuntur de auro. 


24 To makeffold or silver letters. — Take sal amTnoniac, the 
juice of pounded Teryain mallows, and gum arabic^ mix all 
these together, temper them with urine ao as to make dm 
rather liquid ; afterwards make the mixture liquid with gmn- 
arabic. Then write whatever you Hke with this liquid and kt 
it dry. Then breathe upon it well with your movthy aa tbat 
the surface of it may be rather damp, and lay gold leaf iqxiB 
it, and jM-ess it on lightly with a piece of cotton. 

25. Ta make letters of silver. — ^Take three parts of qnidb* 
silver and a fourth part of tin, melt them together^ bjoSl let the 
mixture cool ; then grind it on a atone and temper it vidi 
a sohition of gum-arabic ; write with it and let ft dry, and 
polifih it with the tooth of a dog or other animal^ fit for the 
purpose, and the letters will be beautiful and brilliant. 

26. To make letters appear like ffold. — Take the bom of a 
goat, cut it into very small pieces, and distil it in as alembic^ 
and keep the water which comes over, in a glazed jar, in the 
«un for some days ; afterwards write with this water^ and the 
letters will appear like gold. 

27. To erase letters from parchments — ^Take the juice of an 
orange and dip cotton ot spoi^ in it, and rob it li^itly upon 
the letters, and it will erase them perfectly. But as the parch- 
ment will be wetted and made soft;, it must be rendered dry 
and white in the following manner : — ^Take wUte lime in 
powder and mix it with clear water, and afterwards strain 
through a piece of white linen, dip cotton in the water which 
has been strained and dab it upon the parchment where it b 
soft, and it will become white and firm. I think it wonld be 
better to dip the cotton in dry lirae„ and not to wet it. 

28. To make a green ink for writinff. — ^Take of good vinegar 
oz. ij., sal ammoniac oz. ij., common salt oe« ij.,. braas filing 
oz. ij., put them all together in a glass flask for six days, aaoA 
it will make a green ink^ which you must strain and keep for 


24. Adfademdum liUeras aureas vel argenteas. — ^Accipe sal 
armoniacum, el succum alci pistil et gamirabieuiD^ et hec simul 
dklempera, et postea distempera cum urina, ut sit liquida 
aliquaBtulum ; poetea perfecte liquidam fades cum aqua gum- 
irabici^ poatea scribe cum hoc que vis, et permitas sicari^ et 
postea flaa desuper cam ore multum b^ie, ut aliquaniulum 
hiimeetetur superficies^ et pone desuper folium aixri, super quo 
deduc leyiter bombaoem*^ 

35. Adfacumiaipn liUeras argentu — ^Acdpe argentimi vivum 
per tres partes, et per quartam de stagno, et foode simul> et 
permitte frigidari, et moUe super lapide, et distempera oun 
aqua gumi arabici, et scribe cum hoc, et permitte siecari, et 
polias cum dente caois vel alteriua ammalis ad hoc apto,. et 
erunt pulcre littere et luceote& 

26. Ut latere mdeantur de awro. — ^Aedpe eomu yrci, et 
ipeum indde minutksime, et distilla per alembicum, et aquam 
que exibit tene in vase yitriato ad solem per aliquot dies, et 
postea cum ipsa aqua scribe et littere yidebuntur de aura 

27. AA delendum Ktteras de carta. — Accipe succum pomi 
ranzii, et in ipso balnea bombacem yel sponglam, et firica le- 
viter super litteras, et optime dellet, et quia carta libri bal- 
neatur, et efficitur mollis, remediari debet isto modo, ut sit 
sicca et alba. Accipe flcorem calcis, distemperate cum aqua 
clara^ postea cola cum pecia lini alba, et de aqua alba que 
exibit balnea bombacem, quam ducas super cartam ubi mollis 
erat, et fiet alba et solida. Credo quod melius esset intingere 
bombacem in calee sicea et non madida. 

28. Ad faciendum aquam viridem ad scribendum. — Accipe 
bonum acetum ondas ii., salis armooiad ii., saUs communis 
ondas iL,. limature eris oncias ii., pone omnia in ampula yitrea 
per yj. dies, et fiet aqua viridis, quam cola et reserva. 

' Bombacem, id est spongiam ut jam supra vel lanaro. [Marginal note 
by author.] 



29. To make excellent azure. — Take of sal ammoniac cms. iij-, 
and of verdigris oz. vi., mix them together and make them into 
a paste with solution of tartar, and put them into a glass jar, 
which you must stop up, and lute, and place in warm dung 
and let it stand there for some days, and when you take it up 
you will find the green changed to excellent azure, 

30. For the same. — ^Take of alum scagliola one part, ci 
vinegar two parts ; grind them together upon a slab, and make 
them boil a little in a glass or other vase, and put them into a 
glass flask and bury them in dung for five days or more, until 
you see it is become of a blue colour.^ 

31. Good ink is thus made. — Take 1^ lb. of pounded galb, 
soak them in warm rain water, or warm wine or vinegar, of the 
quantity of 10 phials, and so let it stand for a day or more ; 
then boil it until the said water, wine, or vinegar is reduced 
to one-third, and let it be taken off the fire and a phial or two 
of wine or vinegar be immediately added, and let so mucb 
water be added as was boiled away fi-om the said mixture, and 
let them all be put on the fire again. When the mixture be- 
gins to boil let it be removed from the fire ; when it is only 
just warm strain it and add to it 1^ lb. of gum-arabic in 
powder and 1 lb. of Roman vitriol, and mix the whole to- 

32. If you wish to make a gold or silver colour for rmiting. 
— Take talc and put it into a glass vase, and pour over it good 
vinegar made from white wine, and add mercury to it, namely 
half an oz., and 1 oz. of fish-glue, and put it on the fire, that 
it may become liquid like water, and write with it, and it will 
make silver letters. If you wish to make golden letters, add a 
little saflron. 

33. Cement for joining parchment is thus made. — Take gum- 
arabic and whipped white of egg, dissolve the gum in tlus 
white of egg and let it dry in the sun, and when you wish to 
use it wet the edge of the piece with your tongue and lips and 

^ The colouring ingredient seems wanting in this recipe. 


29. Ad faciendum azurrum optimum. — Accipe salis armo- 
Tiiaci oncias iii., viridis eris oncias yi., et misce simul, et con- 
fic^antur cum aqua tartari ad modum unguenti, ei ponantur in 
Ampula vitrea, que obturetur, et luctetur, et ponatur in fimo 
calido, et stet per aliquos dies, et accipe que invenies, viridem 
conversum in optimum azurrum. 

30. Ad idem. — Accipe aluminis scarole partem unam, aceti 
partes duas, tere simul super lapide, et bulire facias parum in 
vase yitreo yel alio yase, et pone in ampula yitrea, et sepelias 
in fimo per dies y., yel plures, donee yideas deyenisse azurri 

31. Attramenium optimum sic ft. — Recipe galle firacte 
libram 1^, et pone in aqua pluyiali tepida, yel in aceto, au^ 
vino tepido, ad x. fialarum quantitatem, et sic stet per. unum 
diem yel plus, et postea buliantur donee remaneant ad terciam 
partem dicte aque, sen yini, aut aceti, et deponantur ab igne, 
et statim super addatur fiala una yel due aceti yel yini; et 
ponatur tantum de aqua, quantum consummata fuerit ipsa 
mixtura, et iterum omnia ponantur ad ignem, et cum inceperit 
bulire deponatur ab igne, et cum ad tepiditatem reductum erit, 
coletur, et ponatur in ipso libra 1^ gumi arabici puWerizati, et 
libram 1 yitrioli romaui, et simul misceantur omnia. 

32. Si visfacere colorem aureum vel argenteum ad scribendum. 
— Accipe talcb,. et pone in yase yitreo, et superpone acetum 
dc yemazia perfectum, et pone cum ipso mercurium, videlicet 
onciam j, et colam piscis onciam i., et pone super ignem ut 
liquefiat ut aqua, et scribe, et fient littere argentee ; et si vis 
quod faciat litteras aureas, pone cum ipso parum croci. 

33. Colla ad jungendum cartas sic ft, — Accipe gummi ara- 
bici, et clarum oyi spongiati, et dissolyatur gumi in ipsa clara 
ovi, et siccentur ad solem, et cum operari yolueris, balnea caput 
ipeius masse cum lingua et labiis oris> et trahe desuper cartis 



apply it to the parchment where the pieces are to be joixiedL 
and let it dry in the shade, and the pieces will adhere finslj 
together. But if you wish to join paper only and not parch- 
ment, wheat-flour or powdered bread-crumbe mixed with pure 
water and slightly boiled is very good for paper. But if yoa 
nux a little gum-arabic or whipped white of egg with it, it will 
do for parchment. 

34. If you, wish to erase letters from paper j take roche altmi, 
and grind it, and make it into a paste with the juice of «d 
orange, and expose it to the wind, and let it dry ; aflerwardi 
rub it upon the letters, and it will erase them from the paper. 

35. If you wish to make letters of the colour of brassj sihxr^ 
or ffoldy take crystal, and grind it very fine upon a marble cr 
porphyry slab, with white of egg, and write what you like with 
it; and when the letters are dry, rub them with the metal 
whose colour you wish them to take, and they will take the 
colour. Powdered glass will do instead of powdered crystal. 

36. To make lake. — Take urine, and keep it for a long while, 
and afterwards make it boil until half of it is evaporated upon 
a slow and cle^ fire, skimming it continually, until it is fet- 
fectly purified. Then strsun it through a linen cloth, and put 
4 lbs. of it into a glazed jar of the said urine, and 1 lb. of raw 
lac well ground, and add to it a sufficient quantity of alumioe 
zuccarino, and put it by and keep it for use. 

37. For the same purpose. — Take of gum lac, ground very 
fine, as much as you like, and put it into clear urine for three 
days, and afterwards make it boil on the fire, and skim it Add 
a little Boman vitriol to it, and strain it through a linen cloth 
of loose texture ; then add some urine, and make it boil, always 
stirring it with the ladle, until one fourth part or more is e?a- 
porated ; then put it in the sun and let it dry, and keep it 
for use. 

38. If you wish to remove oil from parchment or letters^ take 
bones of chicken or capons, and bum tiiem until they are white, 
and reduce them to powder. Lay some of this powder on the 


in lods juncture, et junge, et permitte siocari ad nmbram, et 
tenebnnt se simul fortiter. Set si non cartam, set flolmn pa- 
pirum, jimgere veils, ferina frumenti, rel tritura panis snbti- 
liata, et distemperata cmn aqtia clara, et modicum bulita, 
optima est pro papiro ; set si immisoeris parum gumi arabid, 
Tel dare ovi spongiate, yalebit pro cartis. 

34. Si vis elevare litteras de carta, — Accipe alnminis roche, 
et tere et impasta cum succo pomi araimi, et pone ad auram, 
et dimitte siccari ; postea frica super litteras, et lerabit eas a 

35« ^t vis facere litteras coloris erei, argentei, out aurei. — 
Accipe cristallaoi, et tere subtiliter super lapide marmoris yel 
I»rfirici, cam Clara ovi, et scribe qnod Tis de ii»o bitumme, et, 
siccatis litteris, frica desuper metallum illud, cnjus oolorem yis 
quod recipiant littere, et accipient ; pulver yitri esset bona loco 
cristalU triti. 

86. Ut facias laeham. — Accipe urinam hominis bibentis 
boQum vinum, et diu serva, et postea bullire iadas usque ad con- 
sumpcionem medietatis» semper despumendo, super lentum et 
clarum ignem, donee sit optime purgata ; postea cola per telam, 
et pone in vase yitriato Ubras iiii^' dicte urine, et libram unam 
lache crude, bene trite, et pone de almnine Zucarino quantum 
sufficit, et repone seryando ad opus. 

87. Ad idem, — Accipe gumam lache quantum vis tritam sub- 
tiliter, et pone in urina nitida per tres dies ; postea fac bulire 
ad ignem, et spuma, postea pone in ipsa parum vitrioli romani, 
postea cola per pannum lineum rarum. Postea adde de urina, 
et fac bulire agitando semper cum spatula, donee consumatur 
circa quarta pars vel plus. Postea pone ad solem, et dimittas 
siccari, et serva ad usum. 

38. Si vis oleum de cartis vel litteris extrahere. — Accipe 
ossa pullorum vel castroni, et arde usque ad albedinem, et pul- 
veriza, et de ipso pulvere super pone ubi est oleum, et per- 


place where the oil is, and let it stand, in summer in the shade, 
and in the sun in winter. If necessary, repeat this two or three 
times. Lime also is good for this purpose. 

39. To make the colour purpurinus as beautiful as goUL — 
Take quicksilver and tin, and melt them together ; then take 
sulphur yivum and sal ammoniac, and grind these two together, 
and mix them with the before-mentioned ingredients, grinding 
the whole very fine upon a stone, with ^ Then pot 
them into a glass flask well luted, so as not to be quite fiill of 
the aforesaid things, and put them on the fire, and let the montb 
of the flask be uncovered, and let it stand on the fire nntil die 
vapour ceases to issue from the mouth of the flask. Afterwards 
let it cool, and bre^^k the flask, and collect and keep all that is 
above the dregs, and it will be an excellent colour for nsii^ 
on books and parchment 

40. If you wish to stain, of a preen colour, bones, wood, tabkli, 
or panneh of vx>od, knife- handles, thread, and linen cloihy take 
strong red vinegar, in a glass vase, with brass filings, a little 
Roman vitriol, and some roche alum, and make all boil together 
for a short time, and allow it to stand for a few days ; and when 
you wish to stain anything, put it into this mixture, and let it 
boil a little, and it will become of a good and lasting colour. 

41. To make a water for staining anything of any colour. — 
Take of sal ammoniac 1 lb., and of nitre j^ lb., and distil it lo 
an alembic ; and if you take 1 oz. of this water, and put into it 
the weight of two florins of calcined gold, it will make a yellow 
water ; if calcined silver, it will make a blue ; if mercury, a 
black ; if calcined copper, a green ; if calcined lead, a white 
water ; and if calcined iron, a water of a red colour.* 

42. If you wish to dye anything a blood colour, take a very 
strong lye, and soak in it shavings of brazillium, and ground 

' So in original. 

* This water, which dissolves gold, must be Nitro-Muriatic Acid (Aqua 
Regia). — See Henry's * Chemistry,' vol. ii. p. 131. The recipe proves 
that the solvent power of this acid on gold was generally known as early 


mitte stare in estate ad umbram, in yeme ad solem, donee 
oleum exierit a carta. Et, si necesse fuerit,. facias hoc bis yel 
ter ; et calx etiam est bonum ad hoc faciendum. 

39. Ad faciendum purpureum cohrem pvlcrum et aurum, — 
Accipe argenti vivi et stagni, et fonde simul ; postea accipe 
Bulphuris yivi, salis armoniaci, et tere simul hec duo, et pone 
cum predictis, terendo super lapide subtiliter cum (^c), 

postea pone in ampula vitrea bene luctata, que de predictis non 
sit plena, et pone ad ignem, et ampula sit discoperta ad orifi- 
cium, et stet ad ignem tam diu quod fumus cesset exire de 
orificio ampule ; postea dimitte frigidari, et frange ampullam, 
et Jtotum quod super feces fiierit collige, et serva, et est color 
optimus ad ponendum super libris et cartis. 

40. Si vis in colore viridi tingere ossa^ ligna^ tabulas, seu 
telas ligni^ manubria cutellorum^ filum^ et pannutn lini, — 
Acdpe de aceto rubeo et forti, in vase vitreo, cum limatura 
eris, parum vitrioli romani, et de alumine roche, et fac aliquan- 
tulum bulire omnia simul, et permitte stare per aliquos dies, 
et, cum vis aUqua tingere, pone in ipsa mistura, et fac aliquan- 
tulum bulire, et fient coloris optimi perdurantis. 

41. Ad faciendum aquam ad tingendum aliquid in quocumque 
colore, — Accipe salis armoniaci libram 1, salis nitri libram ^, 
et distilla per alembicum, et si de ista aqua acceperis onciam 
unam, et in ipsa posueris pondus duprum florenorum auri 
calcinati, fiet aqua crocea ; si argenti calcinati, fiet aqua celes- 
tas ; si mercurii^ fiet aqua nigra ; si cupri calcinati, fiet aqua 
yiridis ; si plumbi calcinati, fiet aqua alba ; et si ferri calcinati, 
fiet aqua coloris rubei. 

42. Si vis aliqua tingere in colore sanguineo. — Accipe lessi- 
vium fortisnmum, et in ipso pone rasuram Brazillii, Alumen 

aB 1409. Mr. Hendrie {Theoph,^ p. 427) shows that it was known to 
Geber {De Alchem,, Norimb., 1546, cap. xziii.), who lived during the 
niDth century. 

VOL. I. F 


alumen glad® ; and let it stand for five days or more, and it 
will be of a blood colour. Whatever you mean to dye, jmi 
must soak in it for three days, and then boil it antU what yaa 
have put in it is properly dyed. 

43. If you wish to make verdigris^ take a brass yaae, and pot 
urine into it to the depth of one finger's breadth. Add a litde 
sal ammoniac to it, and expose it to very strong sandune uatfl 
it is dry, when you must scrape off whatever you find in tke 
vase, and it will be very good verdigris. 

4A. For the same purpose. — ^Take of alum zuccarino oz. ti ; 
of brass filings 1 lb. ; of common salt 2 lbs. ; of nitre ij oa. ; of 
roche alum, burnt and bleached, iij oz. Reduce all these things 
to a very fine powder, and smear brass plates with it. Place 
the brass plates in a well-covered glazed jar ; and then, throng 
a hole made in the side of the jar, pour in hot urine or hot 
vinegar, and close up the hole, and place the vase under warm 
dung, and let it remain there 40 days. Then take it out, and 
scrape the brass plates, and you will have a green colour. Yoo 
can repeat this several times, if you wish to have more colour. 

45. If you wish to make a very deep and beautiful ffreen^ take 
the herb rue, or parsley, when fresh, and extract the juice from 
it, and with this juice mix verdigris, and grind it upon a stone ; 
then put it into a shell, adding to it a little strong vinegar co- 
loured with safiron, and it will do even without the saffitw. 
Make it liquid as if for writing, and use it 

46. Ifyau vnsh to make a very gfreen colour for dyeing sUns, 
take of filings of Venus, or copper, 1 part, and of sal ammoniac 3 
parts, and temper it with urine. Stretch the skins which you wish 
to dry upon a hoop, and paint them on the side next the flesh with 
this colour, and let them dry, and the colour will pass 1hr0U(^ to 
the other side. 

Whereas )n the preceding recipes Daention is made of five metals, giviii] 
them the names of the planets to which they are appropriated, the follow 
ing remarks are necessary in order to miderstand them. 

Sol is put for gold, the colour of which is yellow. 
Luna for silver, the rust of which is azure. 


glacie tritum, et stet per dies quinque vel plus, et erit san- 
^inea, et quod tingere vis pona in ipsa per ires dies, et postea 
&c bulire, donee quod in ipsa ad tingendum posueris tinctum 

43. Si vis facere viridem ramum, — Aceipe vas ereum, et 
pone in ipso urinam, usque ad altitudinem grossesiei unius 
digiti, et in ipsa pone parum salis armoniad, et mitte ad for- 
tissimum solem, quousque siccetur, et quod postea inveneris, in 
vase rade, et erit optimum rami viride. 

44. Ad idem. — Aceipe aluminis zucarini onciam vi., et 
limature eris libram j., salis communis libras ii., nitri oncias 
ij., aluminis roche combusti et dealbati oncias iij., pulverisentur 
bee omnia subtilissime, et unge laminas ereas, quas pone in 
-vase yitriato bene coperto; postea per foramen quoddam, 
factum a latere vasis, proice urinam calidam vel acetum cali- 
dum, postea claude dictum foramen, et pone vas sub fimo 
calido, et stet ibi per xl dies ; postea telle et radde tabulas, 
seu laminas, et habebis viridem colorem ; et potes hoc pluries 
reiterare, pro habendo plus de colore. 

45. Si vis colaratissimum et ptdcherrimum viridem facere, — 
Aceipe herbam rute, vel petroxellii, recentem, et ex ipsa trahe 
siceum, cum quo misce viride eris, et tere super lapide, postea 
pone in condiilla, et adde de forti aceto aliquantulum, quod sit 
coloratum cum croco ; et etiam absque croco potest fieri ; et 
distempera ut liquidum sicut ad scribendum, et operare de ipso. 

46. Si vie facere viridissimum colorem propeUihus tingendie, 
— Aceipe limaturam veneris seu rami, partem unam, et de sale 
armoniaco, partes duas, et distempera cum urina, et pelles quas 
vis colorare tende in circulo, et perunge ex ipso colore ex parte 
camis, et dimitte siccari ad umbram, et color transibit ad aliam 

Quia in precedentibus quinque dicuntur metalla, nominando ea per 
AOinina planetanim quibus appropriantur, ideo ut intelligantur, nota ut 

Pro sole, aurum, cujus color croceus est. 
Pro luna, argentum, cujus rubigo color lazuli est. 

F 2 


Man for iron, the rust of which is violet, rather inclining to 

Mercury for quicksilver, of which are made sinopis and m- 
uium, which are red. 

Jupiter for tin. 

Venus for copper or brass, the mst of wfaidi is green. 

Saturn for lead, the rust of which is a white colour. 

Also, note, that in tbe MS. from which I copied the preoedio*' 
recipes, it was thus written in this place. " The whole that is cob- 
tained in this iinboond book, namely, from the beginning of Dumber 
1 to this place, I copied ' in Janua' in the year 1409, in the month 
of June, having extracted it from an unbound book lent me bv 
Brother Dionjsius^ of the order of the servants of St. Mary, 

which order is called dd sacho at Milan." 

Also, in the said MS., on the margin of the recipe immediately fol- 
lowing, where the number 47 begins, was written, ''I bad 'ii 
Janua ' this receipt on the 1st day of March, 1409." 

47. To make good ink for writinff^ particularly for books. — 
Take 4 bottles of good wine, white or red, and 1 lb. of galls, 
slightly bruised, which must be put into the wine, and allowed 
to stand in it for 12 days, and be stirred every day widi a stidL 
The twelfth day it must be stridned throng a strainer of fine 
linen, and must be poured into a clean jar, and put on the fire 
to get hot, until it almost boils. Then remove it from (he fire, 
and when it has cooled so as only to be tepid, put into it 4 ox. 
of gum-arabic, which must be very bright and clear, and sdr 
it with a stick, then add i lb. of Roman vitriol, and stnr it ood- 
tinually with the stick, until all things are well incorpcHrated 
together, and let it cool and keep it for use. And note, that 
ink made with wine is good for writing books upon the scienoes, 
because, when books are written with it, the letters do not &de, 
and can hardly be scraped out or discharged from parchment 
or paper. But if they are written with ink made with water, it 
is not so, for they can easily be scraped out, and it may happen 
that the letters written with it will fade. 

> So in original. 


Pro marte, ferrum, cujus rubigo yiolacea est, et pocius ni- 
S^edini comparata. 

Pro Mercurio, argentum Tiyum, de quo fiunt sinopis, et 
roinium, qui rubei sunt. 

Pro jove, stagDum. 

Pro Yenere, ramum, seu es, cujus rubigo viridis est 

Pro satumo, plumbum, cujus rubigo albus color est. 

Item, nota, quod in ezemplari a quo prescripta sumpei, in hoc loco, 
Bcriptum sic erat, " totum quod continetur in isto quaterno, scilicet a 
principio numeri 1, usque hie, scripsi in Janua, anno 1409, de mense 
Junii, extrahendo ab uno quaterno michi preetato per Fratem Dio- 
nisium de (^)» ordinis Servonim Sancte Marie, qui ordo 

in Mediolano dicitur * del sacho.' " 

Item, in eodem exemplari, super margine recepte immediate sequentis, 
qua incipit numerus 47, scribebatur sic, '* habui in Janua istam re- 
ceptam die primo Marcii, 1409." 

47. Ad faciendum optimum attramentum pro tcribendo^ pre- 
cipm libros. — Recipe bocales iiii^ optimi viui yermigii vel albi, 
et libram i. galle modicum fracte, que ponatur in dicto vino, et 
stet in ipso per duodecim dies, et agitetur omni die cum baculo, 
ultima vero die coUetur bene subtiliter per colatorium tele linee ; 
postea ponatur in Yase mondoad ignem, et callefiat usque dum 
quasi bulliat ; deinde deponatur ab igne, et cum refrigidatum 
sit, taliter quod sit tepidum, ponantur in ipso onzie iiii®' gummi 
arabici bene lucidi et clari, et agitetur cum baculo ; deinde 
ponatur libra h yitrioli romani, et semper misceatur cum baculo, 
donee bene incorporentur omnia simul, et infrigidetur et usui 
seryetur. £t nota quod attramentum factum cum yino est bo- 
num ad scribendum libros scienciarum, que cum de ipso scripti 
sunt libri, non cadunt littere, neque quasi raddi possunt, nee 
expelli de carta, nee de papiro. Set si scripti sunt de attramento, 
seu incausto, facto de aqua, non est sic, que bene radi possunt 
leyiter^ et accidere potest quod littere de ipso scripte caduce 

VOL. I. * F 3 


4 bottles of wine, or water, or half of each. 

1 pound of galls of xij. oz. to the pound. 

4 oz. of gum arable. 

6 oz. of Roman vitriol. 

And if you took equal parts of each, galls, gnm, and yitriol, 
as much of one as of the other, by weight, it wonld still be 
good ; as, for instance, 6 oz. of each, which would be suffideoi 
for the said 4 lbs. of wine or water, or of wine and water mixed 
as before. 


48. The preparation of Thicia. — ^Take as much as you please 
of Alexandrine tucia, pulverize it well, put it in an iron ladle, 
and distemper it over the fire until the tucia becomes red. 
Then take vinegar and urine, and stir it in well with a rod 
until the tucia becomes of a citrine colour. 

49. To make brass. — Take thin plates of copper, dean 
them well with salt, urine, and honey, and when they become 
red, and are well cleansed, take red honey, and rub it over the 
plates ; then sprinkle powdered tucia on the honey and liquefy 
it in a shell with " (?) of holly, it will then be very good 

50. To write with black on gold or silver. — Take burnt lead 
and sulphur, distemper them together, and write on the gold 
or silver ; then heat it with fire, and the desired effect will be 

51. To redden white bones. — ^Distemper sal ammoniac with 
pure water, put any bones into the water and leave them ibr 
2 days. Add some Brazil wood raspings, and a little ley, and 
leave them for 2 days more. Then take them out, and if they 

* The word is illegible in the original. 


Bocales iiii^ Tini, vel aque, vel per medietatem de utroque* 

Lipra i. gallaruniy de cmziis xii. pro lipra. 

Onzie iiii~ gummi arabicL 

Oiusie tL vitrioli romanL 

£t qui caperet gallas, gummaniy et vitriolTiiD, quodlibet ad 
equale, videlicet totidem de uno quotidem de alio, ad pondus, 
ad hue bonum esset, videlicet ut onzie vi. de quolibet, quod 
satis easet pro dictis libris iiu?* vini, seu aque, vel aque et vini, 
ut supra. 



48. Preparaciotuchie. — Redpe tucie alexandrine quantum- 
vis, bene pulverizate, et pone in ramaiolo ferreo, et distempera 
ad ignem, tantum quod tucia rubescat Poetea accipe acetum, 
et urinam pueri, et imbibe, et miace cum baculo, tantum quod 
tucia deveniat ad modum citrini, 

49. Ad ottanem fadendum. — ^Habeas laminas eris subtUes, 
et purga bene cum sale, et urina pueri, et melle, et quando 
fiierit rubeiun, et bene purgatum, accipe mel rubeum, et unge 
dietas laminas, et super mel asperge pulverem tucie, et Uquefac 
concham bomb • . . de aggrefoHo, et erit optimum ot- 

50. Ad scribendum de nigro in auro vel arffendo, — ^Accipe 
plumbum ustum, et sulphur, et distempera simul, et scribe 
super aurum vel argentum, et cale&c ad ignem^ et feceris quod 
dictum est 

51. Ad faciendum ossa alba Jieri ruiea. — ^Distempera sal 
annoniacum in aqua pura, postea mitte in ipsa aqua osse que 
vis, et stent per duos dies, et postea adde de vendno raso cum 
modico hssivii, et stet per duos dies, postea extrahantur ossa, et, 



are too red put them in water in whidi sal ammoniac has b^« 
dissolved, and if they are not sufficiently red, do not put tbem 
into a fresh solution of sal ammoniac but replace them in tke 
first, containing the Brazil wood raspings, and add more Btrazil 
wood ; leave them for some time, and they will hecomie suffi- 
ciently red- 

52. To blacken horns or bones of animals. — Take 2 {Hnte of 
rain water, 3 oz. of quicksUyer, and 2 oz. of quicklime, ImhI 
them together for a short time ; then take the mixture off the 
fire, and when it becomes tepid, steep horn or bone in it, and 
it will become black. 

53. A medicine for silvering divers things in a duraMe 
manner. — ^Take Lupins, boil them in water until their virtue is 
imparted to the water. Then strain and boil imtil the water is 
reduced to the consistence of honey, and add a quantity of 
quicksilver equal in weight to the water, stirring it well untfl 
the quicksilver is no longer visible. With this yon may wasli 
wood, metals, and whatever you please. Tins will silver them, 
and this silvering will never separate or fall off. 

54. To make a durable silvering. — ^Take clay, pig's blood, 
vine-wood ashes, and quicksilver, mix them well, then dry and 
pulverize them ; rub anything with this powder will be 

55. To make gold worms^ or worms which seem gilt^ for gild- 
ing anything. — Take bull's brains, put them in a marble 
vase, and leave them for 3 weeks, when you will find gold- 
making worms ; preserve them carefully. 

56. To make a powder which shall light a candle without fre 
but with water. — Take an ounce of loadstone and 4 ounces of 
quicklime. Put half of the lime into some strong pipkin, then 
add to it the loadstone, and fill the pipkin with die remainder 
of the lime ; cover it well, and leave it in a brick-kiln for 
9 days, then take it out of the kiln, and when it is cold uncover 
it entirely : then remove the lime gently, when you will find 
the loadstone in powder ; keep it separately, and when you 
wish to light a candle take some of this powder, put it on a 


81 nimifi sint rubea, reponantur in alia aqua salis annoniaci. 
. £t si parum, non ponantur in aqua noTa salis armoniaci, set in 
prima in qua prius fuerant, in qua est verxinum, et addatur de 
verxino, et stent, et fient rubea ad suffidenciam. 

52. Ad niffrandum comu vel osse ammalis. — ^Accipe duas 
pintas aque plurialis, uncias tres argenti vivi, et uncias duas 
calds vive, et fac bulire simul aliquantulum, et depone ab igne, 
et cum deyenerit ad tepiditatem, pone in ipso cornu vel osse 
animalis, et denigrabitur. 

53. Medicina ad argeidaciomm perpetuam diversarum rerum 
materialium, — ^Accipe lupinos, et decoque in aqua, donee virtus 
eorum transient in aquam. Postea cola, et fac bulire usque 
ad spisitudinem mellis, et pone intus de mercurio seu argento 
vivo, ad pondus aque, et misce bene, ita quod in ea non appareat 
argentum vivum, et de ipsa lignias ligna, metalla, et alia que 
vis, et erunt de argentata, et ipsa de argentacio nunquam sepa-' 
rabitur seu cadet 

54. Ad faciendum atgenJtajcumem durabilem. — ^Aedpe terram 
tenaeem, sanguinem porci, cineres de sermento, et argentum 
TiTum, et commisceantur bene, et postea siccentur, et pulveri- 
zentur, et ex ipso pulvere frica que m, et argentabuntur. 

55. Ad faciendum vermes auri^ vel qui videantur deauratt^ 
pro deaurando que vis. — Acdpe cerebrum tauri, et pone in vase 
marmoris, et stet per tres ebdomadas, et invenies intus vermes 
facientes aiunim, et custodi bene. 

56. Ad faciendum pulverem que candelam accendat, absque 
igne^ set cum aqua. — Accipe calamitem masculum onziam i., et 
calcem vivam onzias iiii^, et pone medietatem ddcte calcis in 
aliqtLO pignatello forti, et postea pone in ipso dictam calamittam 
integram, postea cooperiri pignaculum cum alia parte dicti 
calcis, et obtura bene ^dictum pignatellum, et pone per novem 
dies in fomace in qua cocuntur lateres. Postea leva dictum 
vas de fomace, et cum frigidum sit apperi plane, et remove 
moderate dictum calcem, donee inveneris calamittam pulveriza- 


piece of paper or on the wick of a candle, and touch it witib 
water or Baliya, when the candle will be lifted. But take 
care yon do not keep it in a damp or warm place.^ 

57. To temper iron voelL — Take powdered glaas and burnt 
goat's horn or stag's bone, well pulverized, heat the iron sligjbtlj, 
and grease it with mutton fat and sprinkle with the powders 
that part of the iron which is to be made hard. Then heat the 
\Toa or the part which you wish to harden and quench it in 
water which has been distilled from radish-roots and red earth- 
worms which are found in damp pLices. 

58. To temper iron so thai it wiU be hard enauffh to cut pre- 
cious stones. — Heat the iron in the fire to a convenient heat, 
and extinguish it in the blood of a goat in the month of March. 

59. To take the impression of seals and other things wiik 
engraved or raised surfaces. — ^Take 2 parts of gypsum and 1 of 
flour, mix them together and make them into a paste with glue 
made of hartshorn and reduce them until they become of die 
consistence of soft wax. Then make two small tablets of this 
paste and before they dry press between them the seal or image 
or other form which must be wrapped in onion skins. Then 
take out the seal or image, let the tablets dry, then melt lead 
or wax and pour it into the mould. When cool remove it from 
the mould or tablets, and you will have what you desire. 

60. To make a perfect glue for fixing hard bodies^ sudi as 
crystal, glass, and gemss together ; or for fixing toood, ham, or 
other things on to stones. — Take ceruse made from burnt bricks, 
that is to say, the powder of them, and finish by grinding it 

1 It appeara from a passage in Bockmann'a InTentioiis^iToI. n. p. 504, 
that this recipe was quoted by Cardan, who ascribed it to one Marcta 


tain, quam serva per se ; et dam vis lumen accendere, accipe 
de pulvere dicte calamite, et pone in papiro, sen licivo candele, 
et tange cum aqua dictum licivum, vel cum sputo, et acoendetur 
c^andela ; set cave ne ipeum pulverem teneas in loco humido 
nee calido. 

57. Ad temperandumferrum aptime. — ^Accipe vitrum pulveri- 
zatum, et comua yrci, vel osaa cervi, usta et pulverizata, et 
<»lefiic parum dictum ferrum, et ipsum unge cepo castrati, t.e. 
muttonis, et asperge de dictis pulveribus simul mixtis, ab ilia 
parte ferri que expedit fieri dura, et calefac ipsum ferrum^ seu 
partem illam ejus quam vis duram facere, et extingue in aqua 
distillata per alembicum, de radicibus rafianorumj et vermibus 
terrestribus, seu bombricibus rubescentibua^ nascentibus in locis 

58. Ad temperandum ferrum^ quad erit tarn durum, quod de 
ipso poterunt incidi duri lapides preciosi. — Callefac ferrum ad 
ignem ut convenit, et extingue in sanguine irci libidine amoris 
inflammati, id est in marcio mense. 

59. Adfaeiendumformam sigilli, et aliarum rerum sculptarum 
vel levatarum, quae voles extrahere. — ^Accipe partes duas gipsi, 
farine unam, et misce, et fac pastam de ipsis cum cola cervina, 
et deduc, et confice, donee fit sicut cera mollis ; postea fac de 
ipsa duas tabuletas, et, antequam siccentur, stringe inter ipsas 
sigillum^ vel ymaginem, aut aliud, cujus formam facere vis, et 
sit involutum in pelliculis ceparum, et postea extrahe sigillum 
vel ymaginem, et permittas siccari dictas tabuletas* et cola 
plumbum vel ceram ut visj et immitte in dicta forma, et dimitte 
fiigidari, et apperi formam, id est dictas tabulas, et habebis 
quod quesivisti. 

60. Ad faciendum coUam petfectam, ad corpora dura fir- 
tnanda^ ut cristallum, vitrum, et gemmas, invieem, vel super 
petrast ligna, comua^ aut alia. — ^Accipe cerussam laterum coc- 
torum, videlicet pulverem ipsorum, et confice subtiliando super 


GrsDCus, who, according to some persons, lived in the ninth oentorjr, and, 
according to otbei^, in the thirteenth. 


finely on the porphyry slab with painter's liquid vamiaib- T^tfa 
this preparation you may join anything you like, and dien diy 
it in the sun. And if you have no liquid yamish, take linseal 
oil with a little lime, and the said ceruse, or powder of brids 
burnt in the furnace, and well triturated and pulverized.^ 

61. To temper iron. — Take a sufficient quantity of the juice 
of radish roots, then take earth-worms and put them in salt or 
sea-water for an hour imtil they die, and in dying they will be 
purified firom their superfluous humours. Then remove them 
from the water without squeezing them, but only laying them 
down and shaking the water from them. Then put them in a 
glass cucurbit, and pour the radish-juice on them so as just to 
cover them. Then fix an alembic on the said cucurbit, lute it, 
place the cup in the ashes, give it a slow fire, and collect the 
water, which will come off clear as spring water. When your 
iron is properly heated quench it in this. 

62. For the same purposei — Take the herb which is called 
^' famula "* and which is like ^^ vidalia," but which has leaves 
like the '* elder," extract its juice, and when your iron is iffo- 
perly heated quench and temper it in this. 

63. To make a voaJter which corrodes iron. — Take 1 oz. of 
sal ammoniac, 1 oz. of roche alum, 1 oz. of sublimed silver, and 
1 oz. of Roman vitriol, pound them well, take a glazed eardien 
vase, pour into it equal parts of vinegar and water, then throw 
in the above-mentioned articles. Boil the whole until reduced 
to half a cup or a cup, apply it to such parts of the iron as you 
may wish to hollow or corrode, and the water will corrode them. 

64. A tDOter which corrodes irouy and takes away the spots on 
all metals^ and cleanses wounds, — ^Take Roman vitriol and eu- 

> There appears to be some error in this recipe. 

2 Probably 'Tlammula;" in French, CUmatUe JUammde ; in Italian, 
<* Fiamula ;" in English, the sweet-scented Clematis. This is rendered 
more probable by the comparison of this plant with another species of Cle- 


lapide porfirico cum vernice liquida pictorum, et de hac confec- 
tione junge quod vis, et dimitte siccari ad solem. £t si non 
habes, accipe oleum lini, et aliquantulum calcis^ cum dicta 
ceiTusa, seu pulvere laterum coctorum iu fomace, atritorum, et 
pulverizatorum subtiliter. 

61. Adtemperaruiumferrum. — Recipe radices rafani, extrahe 
succum ita quod de eo habeas satis ad quod vis facere, et accipe 
lombricoe, aliter bombricos, terrestres, quos pone in aqua bene 
salita, vel marina, per horam, donee moriantur, et moriendo 
purgentur ab eorum humoribus superfluis. Postea extrahe 
ipsos de aqua absque eos exprimere, set solum jaciendo, et ex- 
cudendo aquam, et pone eos in cucurbita vitri, et superpone 
dictum succum rafani, ita quod succum superet eos aliquantu- 
lum, et dicte cucurbite superpone alembicum, et luta, et loca 
cucurbitam m cineribus, et da ignem lentum et recoUige aquam, 
que exiet clara ut aqua fontis, et in ipsa extingue ferrum debite 

62. Ad idem. — Accipe herbam que vocatur famula, que est 
ad modum vidalie. Set scias quod habet folia ad modum sam- 
buci ; et de ipsa trahe succum, in quo extingue, et tempera, 
ferrum debite ignitum seu calefactum in igne. 

63. Ad faciendum aquam que cavat ferrum, — Accipe onciam 
]. salis armoniaci, et onciam L aluminis roche, et onciam i. de 
argento sublimate, et onciam i. yitrioli romani, et pista omnia 
bene, et accipe unum vas terre yitriatum, et pone in ipso aquam 
et acetum, de utroque equaliter, et immitte que dicta sunt, et 
fac bulire, donee devenerit ad quantitatem medii ziatus, vel 
unius ; et, hiis factis, de ipsa linias ferrum, mode quo vis ipsum 
cavere, seu radere, et radebit ipsum dicta aqua. 

64. Aqua que cavat ferrum et levat maculae ab omnibus me- 
tgJlis et pargat patredinem vulneris, — ^Accipe de vitriolo romano 

matis, the Clematis Vitalba, the wild Clematis, or common Virgin's bower ; 
the Vitalba and Clematite of the Italians ; La Cl^matite des Haies of the 


phorbia/ and distil them in an alembic. Then take the water 
which is distilled from them and apply it to the wound, and it 
will purify it and remove the dead flesh without great pain. 
If you write with this on iron or any other metal, the letteiB 
will immediately be made and bitten into it 

65. To fix one piece of brcus to another. — Take the scnqnngs 
of a cask, that is, tartar, bum it until it no longer smokes, and 
reduce it to powder ; then take a fourth part of bcnrax, pat it 
in a small quantity of water, and stir it until it is dissolved ; 
then add the tartar to it, until it makes, as it were, red biibblei^ 
when you must add a little water to make it mate liquid : yoo 
may then use it to fix anything you please, smearing die 
article with the said water or mixture. Then put a few copper 
filings and powdered borax into the said water and smear tlib 
mixture as before. Then put what you join into the fire, and 
when you see the copper filings run or melt, at that instant 
throw water on the fire, take out whatever you have soldered, 
and you will find it firmly fixed. 

66. If you toish to give a gold colour to any metoL — ^TJk 
powdered red sulphur and red orpiment, heat them in a crucible 
over the fire, stain your work with this composition, and it will 
be of a gold colour. 

67. To give iron a golden colour, — ^Take alum of Jameni, 
grind it with urine so as to be of the consistence of ointment, and 
spread it wherever you like on the plates of uron ; then heat it 
over the lighted coals ; what you have spread will become of a 
golden colour. 

68 or 69. To preserve arms and other iron vtennlsfrom nut. 
— Anoint them with chicken's grease. 

70, 71, 72, 73, or 74. To make fire tohich will bum tmier 
water J and which cannot be extinguished with anything but oiL — 
Take equal parts of quicklime and sulphur, 1 oz. of wax, a 

^ Euphorbia, the spurge, of which there are many species, one of which 
is mentioned in the Bolognese MS., No. 38, under the name of Turtomseili, 
a derivation from the Latin Tithymalus, the Euphorbia Esola (Erba Latte, 


et euforbiano, et distilla per alembicuni} et de aqua que exierit 
pone in plaga, et ezpurgabitur, et levabit carnem mortuam 
absque dolore magno, et si de ipsa scripseris litteras in ferro, 
vel alio metallo, statim fient et cavabuntur in ipso. 

65. Adconsolidandum umtm latonem cum alio. — Accipe rasu- 
ram vegetis, id est, tartanun, et combure donee fiimum non 
faciat, et pulveriza earn ; postea aodpe quartam partem borratis, 
quam mitte in modico aque, et misce, et agita earn, donee 
liquefiat ; postea mitte cum ea dictam rasuram, donee iaciat bul- 
las quasi rubeas, postea mitte parum aque, ut At magis liquida, 
postea de ipsa operare, et consolida que yis, et unge eas de 
ipsa aqua sen mistura ; postea mitte in ipsa mistura aliquan- 
tulum limature cupri, et aliquantulum borracis pulverizate, et 
de ipsa mistura unge ubi supra, et que jonxeris pone ad ignem, 
donee videbis spargi, seu fondi, linituram dicte mixture positam 
super jonctura duorum conjonctorum, et subito proice desuper 
de aqua in igne, et extrahe de igne ea que jonxisti, quia con- 
solidata erunt. 

66. Si vis dare aureum colorem alicui metallo. — Accipe pul- 
verem sulphuris rubei, auriplumenti rubei, et bulias ad ignem 
in cruxibulo, et de tali confectione opus tuum intinge, et sus- 
cipiet aureum colorem. . 

67. Ad faciendum aureum colorem super ferrum, — ^Accipe 
aluminis jameni, et tere cum urina, ut sit quas unguentum, 
et linias ex ea lamina ferrea ubi volueris, et calefiu; super car- 
bones ignitos, et fiet linitura color aureus. 

68 vel 69. Ad conservandum arma et alia ferramenta a 
rubigine. — ^Ungantur asimgia gallinarum. 

70, 71, 72, 73, vel 74. Ad faciendum ignem qui ardebit sub 
aquaf nee poterit extingui, nisi cum oleo, — Acdpe calcis yive, 
sulphuris vivi, ana, omsiam L cera, parum olei, parum petrolei, 

Lattaroli; Euphorbe k feuille de pin, La petite Esule, the Grom well- 
leaved spurge). All the Bpecies are acrid and poisonous. 


little oil, and a little petroleum. Mix these thiogs togetber, 
smear them over iron or wood, put this under water, and it w3I 
bum. K you wish to extinguish it, put it in oil. 

75. If you wish to keep a fire for some time, — Put lifted 
coals or charcoal under the ashes of juniper wood, and fliey will 
not be extinguished for a long time. 

76. To make maggots and lice fall from your head. — ^Anmot 
your head with the juice of rue. 

77. If you wish to take spots of oil^ and so forthy out if 
tooollen cloth. — Distemper white, or gypsum, or marble dust 
ground with egg, lay it on the spot, dry it, and then wash it 
with cold water. 

78. To take stains out of scarlet, velvety Sfc. — ^Take rodie 
aliun, with a little common salt, and grind it, and make it into 
a paste with yolk of egg and a little vinegar ; put tliis on the 
spots and dry it. The dried ^^ mixture'* may be removed by 
rubbing, and the cloth will remain free from the spot. 

80.^ For the same purpose. — Take burnt tartar of wine, and 
a little sulphur, grind them and make them into a paste with 
yolk of egg and water. Put this on the spots, dry it, and re- 
move it by rubbing and beating. 

81. If you wish to stain bonesj woody planksj wooden ptatterty 
knife^handlest thread, and linen cloths greeny put some stnnQg 
red vinegar into a glass vase with brass filings, a little Roman 
vitriol, and roche alum, and boil all these things together (or 
a short time, and then let them stand for a few days. When 
you desire to stain anything, put it into this mixture, boil it a 
little, and it will be of a beautiful and durable green colour. 

82. If you wish to make brass as beautijvl as goldy take 1 lb. 
of brass plates, i lb. of the best tuchia, melt them together in 
a crucible over the fire, add 2 oz. of tin, stir well, and let the 
mixture cool. Then melt it a second time, add 3 oz. of tndiia, 
stir it, and again set it aade to cool. Hien melt it a third 
time, add 3 oz. more of tuchia, stir and cast it in the form of 
rods, strips, plates, or any other form, and it will be beautiful. 

* 79 is missing in original. 


et hec misce simul, et lignias de hoc ferrom vel lignum, et 
mittas sub aqua et ardebit; et si vis extinguere, mitte in 

75. Si vis conservare ignem maximum tempus ne extingatur* — 
Pone carbones, seu calcicos accensos, sub cineribus ligni juniperii 
et durabunt diu. 

76. Ut lendines et pedictdi cadant de capite. — ^Unge caput 
succo rute. 

77. Si vis extrahere de parmis larmarum maculas old et 
o/iorum.— Distempera album, vel gessum, vel marmor, tritum 
cum ovo, et inunge ubi est macula, et dimitte dccari, postea 
lava cum aqua frigida. 

78. Ad extrahendum maculam de scarlata^ et voluto, et talibus, 
— Accipe de alumine roche, et parum salis communis, et tere, 
et impastentur cum vitello ovi, et pauco aceti, et superponatur 
macule, et siccetur, et confricando expellatur dictum bitumen 
siccum, et pannus remanebit liberatus a macula. 

80. Ad idem, — ^Accipe alumen fecis, et parum sulphuris, et 
tridentur et impastentur cum vitello ovi et aqua, et superpo- 
nantur macule et dimittantur siccari, et expellantur conincando 
et excuciendo. 

81. Si in colore viHdi vistingere ossa, ligna, tabulas, scutellas 
Kgm, manubria cutellorum, JUum, et pannum lint — ^Accipe de 
aceto rubeo et forti in vase vitreo cum limatura eris, parum 
vitrioli romani, et de alumine roche, et fac aliquantulum bulire 
omnia simul, et permitte sistare per aliquos dies, et cum vis 
aliqua tingere, pone in ipsa mistura^ et fac aliquantulum bulire, 
et fient colores pulcri viridis optime perdurantes. 

82. Si vis facere lottonem pulcrum sicut aurum. — Accipe la- 
minas eris libram i, et optimam tuchiam libras s, et simul fonde 
in igne cum cruxibulo, et pone intus onzias ii stagni, et misce, 
et dimitte frigidari. Postea fonde secundo, et pone intus de 
tuchia onzias iii, et misce, et dimite frigidari. Postea tercio 
fonde, et mitte in ipso onzias iii tuchie, et misce, et jacta in 
virgis vel laminis platis, vel in qua forma vis, et erit pulcher. 

VOL, I. o 



83. To make a good temper for iron utensils. — Early in the 
morning collect a large quantity of celandine when it is wet or 
fiill of dew. Extract its juice by poimding, boiling it until ooe 
third is conBumed, and the two parts remaining will be ex- 
cellent. Hien take the whole of the herb Lattaroli^ ^% 
pounded, and extract its juice. Distil this, if possibley and 
sprinkle some finely powdered antimony on the iron, heat the 
iron, and quench it in the distilled water. 

84. For the same purpose. — ^Take the lea&talka of briony, 
pound them, and extract the juice. Distil this, and qnendb 
the red-hot iron in the water which is distilled from it. 

85. To mend broken vases of earthy stone, and marbU. — ^Take 
the white earth of the fellmongers, that is, chalk, wliicli is 
otherwise called gersa [gesso] ; make it into a plaster with 
white of egg, grind it well on a stone, and use it* 

86. If you wish to attract glass touched with some gum, as 
iron is attracted by the moffnety take the gum Andrianum, which 
is found in the large rocks near Bologna towards Tuscany, in 
Monte Bono, or Buono, and besmear a stick with this gnm. 
Touch the glass phials on the table with this stick, draw away 
the stick, and the phials will follow it, as iron follows the 

87. If you wish to turn Mack skins white^ take a mole, bdl 
it, then take the water in which it has boiled, and smear a hhA 
horse with it, on any part The black hairs will fidl ofl^ and 
white hairs will grow. 

88. For the same purpose. — Take cheese, heat it by the fire, 
press it strongly on the forehead of a black horse, and it will 
make a star as you know. 

After the preceding, it was written in the MS., *^ AH the things ooo* 
tidned in this unbound book, namelj, from number 47 unto this pige, I 
wrote * in Janua' in the year 1409, in the month of June, eztracdng 
them from a book lent to me by brother Dionysius de (sic) of 

^ The Euphorbia Esula. See ante, note to p. 78. 
< This recipe appears to be copied from Pliny, who. says quidiliiDe 
should be used. ? ' 


83. Ad fojciendum banam temperam ferramentis. — Collige 
summo mane bonam quantitatem celidonie, quando est plena 
seu madida rore, cujus succum pistendo extrahe, et fac bulire, 
donee consuniinata sit tertia pars ejus ; due yero remanentes 
partes optime sunt; et accipe totidem herbam lateranniam, 
pista, et succum extrahe, et ipsum distilla per alembicum, si 
fieri poterity et pulyerem antimonii triti pulveiizati proice super 
ferrum, et calefac femim, et extingue in dicta aqua distillata. 

84. Ad idem. — ^Accipe radicem de foliis brionie, et pista, et 
extrahe succum, quem distilla per alembicum, et in aqua que 
exierit extingue fernim ignitum. 

85. Ad reintegrandum vasa terrea^ lapidea^ et marmoreal 
Jracta. — ^Accipe terram albam pellipariorum, id est cretam, que 

aliter gersa Yocatur, de qua fac emplastrum cum albumine oyi^ 
et subtilia super lapide et utere. 

86. Si vis vitrum tactum de quadam guma attrahere^ sicut 
ferrum attrahitur a calamita. — Accipe gumam andrianam que 

invenitur in saxis maximis Bononie versus Tuscam ixx monte 
Bono seu Buono, et cum ipsa guma unge baculam, et cum 
ipso baculo tange fialas vitri positas super mensa, et deduc 
baculum per mensam, et fiale sequentur baculum, sicut ferrum 
sequiter calamitam. 

87. Si vis de pellibus nigris faoere albas, — Accipe talpam et 
fac bulire, et ex ipsa aqua in qua bulierit linias equum nigrum, 
ubi vis, et cadent pili nigri, et orientur albi. 

88. Ad idem. — Accipe caseum et calefac ad ignem, et in 
fronte equi nigri imprime fortiter, et fiet stella sicut scis. 

Post predicta scriptum erat in exempUri, " omnia contenta in presend 
quaterno^ id est, a numero 47, usquo hie, Bcripsi in Janua, anno 
1409, de mense Junii, extrahendo ab uno quaterno prestato michi 
per Fratrem Dyoniaiam de (ac), ordinia Servorum Sancte 

o 2 


the order of the Servanti of St. Mary, which order, in BfHci, h 
called Del Sacho ; and from that same book I copied also wmj 
experiments for making colours for illummating books, which expe- 
riments I wrote in another quire which precedes this." 
These are the experiments, Nos. 1 to 47 inclusive. 
Also in the same MS., in another unbound book attached to the 
ing, it was thus written : '* On Tuesday the 11th day of 
1410, 1 caused the following to be copied in Bologna from recipes Jait 
to me at that place by Theodore (sic) of Flanders, an emfani* 

derer, accustomed to work at Pavia during the life of the hie 
renowned Duke of Milan ;^ which recipes the said Theodore s»d be 
had procured in London, in England, fh)m the perscms vho wofk 
with the waters hereinafter mentioned/' 

The following recipes were brought from England : — 

89. To make black water. — Take a pint of water fi*om under 
the grindstone on which knives are ground,* and place it over 
the fire, and throw into it a glass of vinegar and iL oz. of 
galls ; then take ^ an oz. of alum and an oz. of copperas, and 
boil it until it is reduced by one-third, and then let it stand fir 
a day. 

90. To mahe green loater. — ^Take an ounce of verdigris, half 
an ounce of alum, a little safiron, and a little parsley ; grind 
the whole well together, and distemper it with one gla^ of 
vinegar ; then strain it through a cloth into a saucer, and let it 
rest for a day. 

91. To make red water. — Take an ounce of rags or clippings 
of scarlet [cloth], and soak them in a jar in a pint of strong 
ley ; then put the jar over the fire, and throw into it a little 
alum and gum arable, and make it boil until it is reduced one- 
half, and let it rest for a day. 

92. To make tlie voater for staining cloth of all colaurgj and 
to make it quite white. — Take a pint of strong ley, and put it over 
the fire, and throw into it an ounce of alum and an ounce of 
saltpetre, and when it is melted take it off the fire and use it 

^ Gian Galeazzo, who died in 1402. 

s This water probably contained iron- dust. It is also mentioned in the 
Bolognese MS., Nos. 134, 338. 


Marie, qui in Mediolano dicitur ' del Sacho/ et ab ipso quatemo 
copiavi etiam multa ezperimenta ad faciendum colores pro illumi- 
nando libro, que experimenta scripsi super uno alio quatemo prece- 
dent! («u;) finis quaterni." [Ista sunt ezperimenta que 
scribuntur a pre (sic) numeri 1 usque ad numerum 47]. 
Item in eodem exemplari in quodam alio quatemo precedentibus con- 
tiguo scribebatur sic "1410 Die Martis xi Februarii, feci copiari in 
Bononia, a recepds ibi mihi prestatis per Thedericum (sic) 
de Flandria, rachamatorem solitum operari in castro papie, in vita 
condam incliti ducis Mediolani, quas receptas idem Thcdericus 
dixit habuisse in Londonia in Anglia, ab operariia infrascriptamm 

Ab Anglia venerant recepte sequentes :— 
' 89. Pour faire Teau noire. — Prenez une pinte de I'yaue de 
dessoulz la meule sur quoy on meult les couteaulx, et la mettez 
snr le feu, et gettez ung voire de vin aigre, et ii onces de galles, 
et prenez demie onche d'alon, et une onche de coperose, et le 
faitez tant boulir, qu'il apetice du tiers, et puis le laissier re- 
poser un jour. 

90. Pour faire Veaue verte. — Prenez une once de vert de 
gris, et demie once d'alon, et un petit de safren, et un petit de 
persil, et broyez bien tout ensemble, et puis le destrempez en 
j voire de vin aigre, et puis le coulez parmi un drapel dedens 
une escuelle, et le laissiez reposer i jour. 

91. Pour faire Veaue rouge. — Prenez une once de bourre 
d'escarlate, ou tondure, et le destrempez dedens une oUe, en 
une pinte de la forte lexive, et puis le mettez sur le feu, et 
gettez dedens un po d'alun, et de gomme arabique, et le faites 
tant boiilir qu'il apetice de la moitie, et puis le laissiez reposer 
un jour. 

92. Pour faire Veaue a destaindre drap de toutes couleurs, et 

faire devenir tout blanc. — Prenez une pinte de la forte lessive, 

et la mettez sur le feu, et gettez dedens une once d'alun, et 

une once de salepetre^ et quant il est fondu mettez le jus du 

feu et en ouvrez. 


NoTB. — It seems also posrible to dntw^ with the said water, on eokisRd 
woollen doths, any letters and other drawings, the parts vithm tie 
outlines of which only, where the water has touched, will be bleadied ; 
and thus there will be wlute letters and figures ; the groond, whfR 
it has not been touched by the water, still retaining its own eotar. 

93. To make the red toater. — Take an ormoe of ]%unl n 
powder and a 6th part of alun de glaoe, and make it boil wdl 
in a vessel of clear water until it is reduced to one hal^ and 
then use it. 

94. To make the green water. — ^Take an onnce of water of 
the leaves of the hlack ni^tshade,^ and J an ounce of alum and 
the worth of a blanc' of saffiron, and ij. oz. of verdigris ; grinl 
all together as well as you can, and distemper with acbojnoe' 
of strong vinegar, and then use it 

95. To make the violet water. — ^Take an ounce of turasole 

and soak it in a chopine of strong and tepid ley» and tbea 

use it 

What is here called turnsole is to be understood ** Brenl.** 

96. To make the blue ivater. — Take an ounce of indigo of 
Bandas, that is to say, Baguedel,* and reduce it to powder, and 
then distemper it with ^ a '4ot'' ' of strong lessive fondiase^and 
put it on the fire ; and just before it boils, throw into it a 6tfa 
part of quicklime, and the same quantity of ^'meltrac" (?),aiKi 
then take it off the fire and stir it well, and when it is tepid use it 

Also in the said MS., over the recipe immediately foUowbg, ms 
written — " At the beginning of this are wanting scTcral words which 
had been cut oW, as appeared when I caused this to be cofued fitn 
the MS. ; but I think it is for making a water of an azure eokwr, m 
a blue or indigo water." 

97. Take the worth of a blanc of quicklime, and the same 
quantity of calcined lees of wine, and of calx of tin, and some 
^'creeres'^ of indigo, and boil all together in two lots of dear 

^ Morelle. The herba Morella, Solanum Nigrum, Black Nightshade, 
s A blanc was equivalent to 5 deniers. 

* Chopine, a half pint. The old French '^ pinte '* was equivalent to 
1 quart English. 

* This was the real Indigo. 

^ Lot, a liquid measure, perhaps what was aflerwards called '' Litre.** 


Addicio. — Debent etiam posse cum dicta aqua protrahi in drapis 
coloricis lane queHbet littere, et alie protractiones, in quarum solis 
continenciis, quantum aqua eadem tetigerit, albificatio fiet, et sic 
habebuntur ibi protractiones et littere albe, reraanente campo in suo 
colore ubi a qua ipsa non tetigerit. 

93. Pour faire Feaue rouge. — Prenez une once de brezil en 
poudre, et un sisain d'alun de glace, et le faites bien cuire, en 
desmerlant d'yaue clere, tant qu'il appetice de la moitie, et 
puiz en ouvrez. 

94. Pour faire Tiaue verte. — Prenez une once d'eaue de 
morelle de la feuille, et demi once d'alun, et pour un blanc 
de safiren, et ij onces de yert de gris, et broyez tout ensemble 
si bien comme vous porrez, et puis le destrempez d'une chopine 
de fort vin algre, et puis en oeuYrez. 

95. Pour faire Feaue violete. — Prenez une once de tornesel, 

et le met tremper en une chopine de forte lessive fondisse, et 

que elle soit tiede, et puis en oeuvre. 

NoTA.-^--Qnod ubi dicitnr tornesel vult dicere Bresil. ' 

96. Pour faire Teaue perse. — Prenez une once de inde de 
Bandas, c'est a dire, Baguedel, et le met en pouldre, et puis le 
destrempe en demi lot de forte lessive fondisse, et puis le met 
BUT le feu, et quant il voudra boulir, gette dedens un sisain de 
chaulx vive, et autant de meltrac, e puis le met jus du feu, et 
le remue bien, et quant il est tede s'en oeuvre. 

Item in eodem ezemplari et sopra receptam immediate seqnentem sic 
erat scriptum. '' Hie, in principio, deficiunt plura verba, que ab 
exempiari erant abscisa, ut apparebat, quando feci hoc copiari ab ipso 
exemplari ; set credo quod sit ad faciendum aquam colons celestini, 
aut aquam persam vel indicam." 

97. Pren pour un blanc de chaulx vive, et un blanc de cendre 
de lie de vin, et un blanc de la cendre d'estaing creeres de 
Inde, et fidt tout boulir ensemble en ij lotz d'iaue clere une 


water for an instaDt, and stir it well, and then take it off the 
fire, and throw into it a glass of cold water ; and when it is 
settled you can use it. 

Also in the same MS., oyer the two paragraphs following, it 

written — " I think that the following recipes are for making tvo 
green waters, as I collect from the contents, and the names aad 
things which are mentioned in them." 

98. One oz. of tartar of white wine, 1 oz. of sal gem, 1 oz. 
of alun de glace, i an oz. of alun de plume, 6 esterlins* of 
verdigris, 1 chopine of common salt. 

99. 1 oz. of copperas, i an oz. of yerdigris^ 1 oz. of salt- 
petre, i an oz. of rhubarb. 

Take a chopine of water and put it into a new earthen jar, 
and when you see that the water begins to boil put in your 
powder, and take it off the fire and stir it with a skewer, and 
let it cool. 

I think these words of the above written paragraph relate to both the 
articles marked 98 and 99. 

After the aforesud, it was thus written in the before-mendoiied 

** The true method of working in England with [ooloored] waters. — 
The aforesaid • Theodore, from whom I had the above-written recipes 
for the aforesaid waters, told me that in Engfaind the painters work 
with these waters upon closely woven cloths, wetted with gwn-water 
made with gum-arabic, and then dried, and afterwards stretched out 
on the floor of the 8oler,*upon thick woollen and frieze cloths ; and 
the painters, walking with their clean feet over the said cloths, work 
and paint upon them figures, stories, and other things. And because 
these cloths lie stretched out on a flat surface, the coloured waters do 
not flow or spread in pdnting upon them, but remain where they are 
placed, and the watery moisture sinks into the woollen doth, which 
absorbs it ; and even the touches of the paint-brush made with these 
waters do not spread, because the gum with which, as already men- 

^ Esterlins, 18^ grains, a goldsmith's weight Aocordmg to Spelman 
{Glo88, 203) and Dufresne (8, 165), the word was derived from the Ester- 
lings or Easterlings, as those Saxons were anciently called who inhabited 
the district in Germany now occupied by the Hanse Towns and their ap- 
pendages, the earliest traders in Europe. See Tomlin's Law Diet., art 

* Who u mentioned before in page 84, previous to No. 89. 


onde, et le remuer bien, et puis le met jus du feu, et gette 
dedens un godet d'yaue froide, et quant elle sera rassisse tu en 
puez ouvrer. 

Item in eodem ezemplari super ij partes sequentes sic erat, " credo 
quod hec verba sequenda sint ad faciendum aquas duas virides, ut 
comprehendo per contentus verborum ac renim in ipsis verbis nomi- 

98. Une once de gravelle de vin blanc, une once de sal 
gemme, une once d'alun de glace, demie once d'alun de plume, 
vi esterlins de vert de gris, im estrelin de sel commun. 

99. Une once de coperose, demie once de vert de gris, une 
once de salpetre, demie once de rubarbe. 

Prenez ime chopine d'yaue et la metez en 1 pot de terre 
neuf, et quant vous yerrez que Tiaue commencera a boulir, si 
metez vostre pouldre, et ne Tostez hors du feu, et la remuez a 
une brochete, et laissiez refroider. 

Credo quod ipsa verba suprascripti capituli serviant articulis signatis 
uno 98 alio 99. 

Vero modum operandi in Anglia cum aquis. 

Post supradicta scriptum sic erat in preiato exemplari, *' Antedictus^ 
Thedericus, a quo habui ante scriptas receptas prescriptarum aqua- 
rum, dixit quod in Anglia operantur operarii pictores cum ipsis aquis, 
super tellis bene contexts, et belneatis cum aqua gummata de gummi 
arabico, et siccatis, et postea extensis super solario^ per terram, super 
drappis grossis lanne et iirixia, incedentes cum pedibus nitidis ipsi 
qui operantur, iunt, inde per super ipsas telas, operando et depin- 
gendo super ipsis imagines, hbtorias, et alia. Et quodque ipse telle 
sedent et stant in planicie extense, ut dictum est, et super dictis 
drapis dicte aque colorate pingendo non fluunt, se spargentes, set 
stant ut ponuntur, et humitidas aquea descendit in drapo lanne, qui 
eam bibit, ac etiam non sparguntur tractus pincellorum facti ex ipsis 
aquis, quea gumacio tele facta ut dictum est, prohibet sparsionem 

* De quo supra in 2^- pagina folii precedentis ante numerum 89. 

s Solano — the 8oiery or upper story of a bouse. See Illustrations of Do- 
mestic Architecture from popular Medieval writers. By Mr. Wright. 
Published m the Archseologiod Journal, September, 1844, p. 218. 



tioned, the cloth is wetted, prevents thdr spreadiog. And wben t^ 
cloths are thus painted, their texture is not thickened or daokcoai 
any more than if they had not been painted, because the aibresaid 
watery colours have not sufficient body to thicken the doth." 

Also in the beginning of the following quire in the nine MS. it was t^s 
written-*'* On Thursday, the 18th day of Fefaraaiy, 1410, 1 caned 
the following to be copied at Bologna, by the hand of Dona Jolmaet 
de diversis, from a certain book of Magister Johannes de Modeoa, a 
painter living at Bologna.'* 

It must also be remarked that the articles which follow, namelj, trom 
the article 100 to the article 116 inclusive, were in the book Irai 
which I, John Le Begoe, copied, as has been already aaid, the 
present articles ; and that this book was written in the Italian lan- 
guage ; and as I did not understand that language, I caused it to be 
translated into Latin by a certain friend of mine, who was skilled in 
both languages. 

100. To make lake, — ^Take ashes of oak, and boil tfaem in a 
boiler fiill of water, namely, in one oontuning 6 small cupa of 
water, and one parasis, i. e. a large [saucer or] basin Ml of the 
ashes, and boil it until it is reduced to three cups. Then let 
it settle, and when it is clear, pour it into a glazed eartfaeo 
basin ; then take a woollen cloth, and strain the said water, 
and when it is strained it will be a ley. Put into the said ley 
a sufficient quantity of the clij^ings, that is, cuttings of scarlet 
<5loth of rubeum de grana, to be perfectly coTered by the 1^. 
Then put it into a glazed earthen jar, and let it rest for twelve 
hours. Next take that ley, together with the clippings, and 
put it into a glazed earthen pipkin, and set it by Ihe fire, and 
let it simmer gently for an hour. After that try it, by putting 
it on your nail, and if it stands up well on your nail, it is 
done ; then remoye it from the fire and strain it through a 
thick woollen cloth. You must then have a new glazed 
earthen pot, and pour into it what was strained through the 
said cloth ; add to it vi oz. of roche alum, and stir it together 
until it is dissolyed. Then take a spoon and skim off all the 
froth that forms over the top of it, and throw away this scnm, 
for it is not good. But the other part is good, and should be 
put into a glazed earthen vase, and suffered to stand until it 


ipeam tractuum pincellorum ; et cum telle ipse operate sunt, tamen 
raritas ipsarum non est inspisata, nee ob fuscata, plus quam si non 
picte fuissent, quia aquei colores suprascripti non babent tantum 
corpus, quod possent inspicare raritatem telle." 
Item in principio quaterni sequentis in eodem exeroplari sicut erat 
scriptum, " 1410, die Jovis xiii» Februarii, feci copiari que se- 
quuntur in Bononia, de manu domini Johannis de diversis, a quodam 
libello magbtri Johannis de Modena, pictoris babitantis iu Bononia/' 

£t autem sciendum, quod articuli qui sequuntur, scilicet ab articulo 100 
usque ad articulum 116 inclusive, erant in libro a quo e^, Johannes 
le Begue, presencium articulorum, ut supra dictum est, in ytalico 
sermone oonscripsi, quern sermonem, cum non intelligerem, feci per 
quemdam amicum meum, utriusque lingue peritum, in latinum vertn, 
eo qui sequitur modo. 

100. Ad faciendum lacha. — Ad £Bu;ieDdum lacha, accipe 
cinerem de quercu, et &c bulire in una patella plena aque, 
videlicet quod sint intus sex cassete aque, et una parasis de 
dicta cinere, videlicet una magna scutella, et fac tantum buUire 
quod reveniant ad tres cassetas tantum modo. Postea sine 
clarificare, et, quando est clarificata, ponas in una patella de 
terra yitreata ; postea habeas pannum de lanna, et per ipsum 
fac colare dictam aquam, et, cum fiierit clarefacta, tum erit 
lessivium; ponas in dicto lessivio tantum cimature, videlicet 
burre de panno scarlato rubeo in grana, quod super habundet 
aliqualiter lessivium dictam cimaturam. Postea ponas totum 
in uno vase de terra vitriato, et sine morari intus per xij boras. 
Postea capias illud lessivium una cum cimatura, et ponas in 
una olla de terra vitreata^ quam pones juxta ignem, et &C 
bulire paulatim per unam horam. Et postea experimentes, et 
ponas supra unguem, et si teneat se super unguem, tunc est 
coctum, et hoc facto amovebis ab igne, et fac colorare per 
pannum grossum de lana. Postea habebis unum potum de 
terra vitreatum novum, et ponas intus illud quod colaverit per 
dictum pannum, et accipe vi oncias de alumine de Roch, et 
ponas intus, et misce ad invicem, usque quo liquefacerit* 
Postea accipe unum coclearium, et collige tantum illam 



has become somewhat dry, when it must be formed into small 
grains, and be put in the sun. 

10 J. To make verzino for painting on silver. — ^To make 
yerzino for painting on silver or tin-foil, so that the brilliancy 
of the silver or tin may shine and appear throu^ it, pat a 
piece of white lime about the size of an egg into water to dis- 
solve, and let it stand in the water for three days and three 
nights. Then rasp or scrape verzino, and add it to the lime- 
water, and let it stand for an hour ; then put it on the fibre iq a 
small jar, and let it boil until, when you put it upon your Bail, 
it remains upon it Then take isinglass, or, as some say, tm^ 
pentine, a piece about the size of a bean, and put into it, and 
remove it from the fire. Take a little roche alum, which yon 
must stick in the end of a small stick and tie it there, and dip 
it into the said mixture, and let it remain there until you see 
that it is dissolved. Then take a strainer, and strain or filter 
the water through it 

102. To make \a liquid] for dyeing, — ^Take the whites of six 
eggs, and put them in a glazed basin, and break or beat them 
well with a sponge. Then take an ounce of verzino and scrape 
it, and add it to this white of egg, and let it remain in it for 
three days. Then take a little roche alum and scrape into it, and 
set it to strain or filter through a strainer. Then place it in tiie 
stm, and let it stand until it dries. Temper it with a little 
weak gum, that is, gum-water, made with gum arabic, having 
but little gum in it, on account of the viscosity of the white of 
egg, which is su£Scient for it 

103. To make gesso sottile, — Take fine gesso sifted, that is 
passed through a sieve, and put it into water to dissolve, and 

the water every day, and stir it together every day, and 


spumam que veniet desuper, et illud quod remanet desuper 
separesy quod non est bonum. Alterum yero est bonum, et 
ipsum ponas in uno vaso de terra vitreato, et sinaa stare intus 
usque quo aliqualiter desiccetur^ et, quando desiccatum Aierit, 
fac de ipso parra grana, et ponas ad solem. 

101. Ad faciendum verzin super arffentoponendo. — Ad facien- 
dum verzin super argento vel stagno verberato, ponendo taliter 
quod splendor argenti et stagni splendeat et lucescat, accipe 
calcem albam tantum, quantum est unum ovum, et ponas in 
aqua ad liquefaciendum, et sine stare in dicta aqua per tres 
dies et tres noctes. Postea habeas feltrum^ et per ipsum cola 
dictam aquam. Postea ratdces sive radas verzin, et ponas in 
dicta aqua de calce, etsine stare intus per unam horam, postea 
ponas super ignem in una parva oUa, et sinas tantum bulire, 
quod si posueris super unguem, ibi remaneat Postea habeas 
de cola pisdum, et aliqui volunt dicere de Trementina, tantum 
quantum unum granum fabe, et pone intus et removeas ab 
igne, et habeas parumper de alumine de roch, quod ponas in 
summitate unius paryi baculi, et liges ipsum, et emerge in 
dicta aqua commixtdonata, et sine stare usquequo videris esse 
liquefactum. Postea habeas unam stamineam, et per ipsam 
fac penetrare sive colare dictam aquam. 

102. Ad faciendum pro tingendo* — ^Accipe clarum sex ovo- 
rum, et ponas in una scutella vitreata et deducas, sive per- 
cussias, bene cum una spungia. Postea habeas unam onciam 
de verzin, et ratices, et ponas in isto claro ovorum, et sinas 
stare intus per tres dies. Postea habeas aliquantum de 
alumine de roch, et ratices desuper, et pone ad colandum, sive 
penetrandum, in una staminea. Postea ponas ad solem, et 
sine stare tantum quod sit siccum. Postea tempera ipsum 
cum aliquantum de gumma debili, id est de aqua gommata de 
gummi arabico, que parum gumme in se habet, causa viscosi- 
tatis clari ovi jam impositi, que sufficit. 

103. Ad faciendum gessum mibtUe. — Accipe de gesso subtili 
sedassato, id est, penetrato per aliquam stamineam, et pone in 
aqua ad liquefaciendum, et cotidie renoves aquam, et cothidie 



do this for a month. Then strain or filter off the water, 
take the part that remains behind and put it into a fresh 
in which you must let it remain till it has settled properly ; 
then make it into a cake, and let it dry. 

104. To lay burnished gold upon paper. — ^Take gesso aottile 
and grind it on a stone with water. Then let it dry , and when 
it is dry take some glue, not very strong, and mix with it, and 
add a little minium and ceruse— t.e. blanchet^ — and lay tiie 
gesso on the paper, and let it dry. Then scrape it^ and lay 
over it Armenian bole well ground willi white of egg, and when 
it is dry, lay gold upon it with white of egg, and burnish it in 
proper time. 

105. To lay fine gold upon giU tin. — ^Take white of egg, and 
whip or beat it well with a sponge, with which wet also the tin, 
but the sponge must not be too wet Then take fine gold, and 
lay it on the tin, and let it stand until it is fit to burnish. 

106. To fnahe a mordant with garlic. — Take garlic, and 
pound or grind it yery fine, and strain or sift it throu^ a very 
fine sieve. Then take what passed through, and put it on a 
stone with a little minium an d ceruse^ viz.^ blanchet and a little J^ 
bole, and grind and mix all these together, and let the mixture 
stand till it becomes tacky. cw-u** (^fj-6u**>t4>' 

107. To make a mordant which will not be affected by Ae 
weather. — Take a little minium and ceruse, viz., blanchet, also 
verdigris, bole, and ochre, and grind all together with water, 
and let them dry until the water is completely evaporated. 
Then take what remains and grind it with oil and linseed, and 
add a little liquid varnish to it, and a little gold size, and 
grind all these things well together, and apply the mordant, 
and when you have applied it lay on the gold. 

108. To make lake. — ^Take verzino and rasp it with glass, 
and take travertine rasped to powder, and a little rodie a]nin, 
and grind it, and soak all these things in a ley, and let tbem 


c^ommisceas ad invicem, et in tali statu sine morari usque ad 
Tuium mensem; postea cola sive penetra aquam, et abstrabe 
illud quod remanserit, et ponas in uno vase novo, ubi sinas 
morari usque quo fuerit bene repausatum, postea fac panem, 
et sine siccari. 

104. Ad ponendum aurum bomitum in carta. — Accipe ges- 
sum subtile, 'et tere super petra cum aqua. Postea sine sic- 
cari, et quando erit siccum, habeto de cola non valde forti, et 
extempera cum ipso et pone aliquantulum de minio, et de 
ceruza, videlicet blancbet, et pone istud gessum super carta, 
et sine siccarL Postea radas et ponas super bolarminum, bene 
tritum cum claro ovi, et quando est siccum, pone super aurum 
cum claro oTi. Postea bomisce quando tempus est. 

105. Ad ponendum aurum finum super ttagno aurato,'^ 
Accipe darum oti, et deducas sive percutias bene cum spungia, 
et balne stagnum de dicta aqua cum spungia, et non valde ; 
postea accipias aurum finum, et vade ponendo super stanno, et 
fflnas tantum quod sit ydoneum ad bomiendum. 

106. Ad faciendum mordentem de aleo. — Accipe de aleo, et 
pista, sive tere, bene nitide, et cola, sive penetra, bene nitide 
per unam pessiam. Postea coUige illud quod penetraverit, et 
ponas supra petra cum aliquantum de minio, et de cerusa, 
videlicet ^lanchet, et aliquantum de bolo, et omnia ista tere et 
CQmmisce ad invicem, et sine tantum quod effidatur conglu- 

107. Ad faciendum mordentem qui stet ad aerem. — Acdpe 
parumper de minio, et cerusa, videlicet blanchet, et de ver- 
deramo, et de bolo, et de ocrea, et tere omnia ista ad invicem 
cum aqua. Postea sine eiccari usquequo aqua exiverit. Postea 
accipe illud quod remanserit, et tere cum oleo et semine lini, 
et pone intus cum aliquanto vemicis liquide, et aliquantum de 
auratura ; et omnia ista tere bene invicem, et ponas in opere, 
et quando pungit pone super aurum. 

108. Ad faciendum lacha, — Accipe verzin, et ratices cum 
aliquantum de vitreo, et accipe tevertini raticatum in pulvere, 
et accipe alume de roch, et tere. Et omnia ista pone ad lique- 



stand for a day. Then mix the whole well together, and pat 
the mixture in a new earthen jar, and make it boil for a qxiarter 
of an hour. Then take a small bag, and pour the whole into 
it, and let it remain until the moisture has passed or rm 
through, and let it fall into a saucer or stone basin. 

109. To make a yellow colour^ — Take an ounce of orjnmest, 
and an ounce of sulphur vivum, and temper this colour with 
the milk of a fig-tree, and it is done. 

110. To make a green water. — Take buckthorn berries, aiul 
mix them in the same way as is done with wine or raiains when 
they are boiled in a cauldron to make wine, and coyer liiem 
up, and let them remain for six days. Then squeeze tfaem 
into a parasis, viz., a basin of glazed earthenware, and add to 
it a little ' alum, lest it should be spoiled. Proportion the 
alum to the quantity of the liquid, and plaoe it in the son to 
dry. And when you wish to use it add a little ley to it ; and 
if you wish to have a beautiful green take some fine azure and 
mix with this water ; and note, that for this purpose azurmm 
de Alemannia^ provided it is good and perfect, is better than 

111. To make ultramarine azure. — ^Take 3 lbs. of lapis 
lazuli, and pound finely in a copper mortar, and afterwards sift 
it with a sieve such as perfumers use when they sift their per- 
fumes after having pounded them. Then take 3 lbs. of tur- 
pentine, and put into a glazed earthen saucer, and place it on 
the hot ashes. Then put into it a little olive oil, and when 
you see that it begins to boil take it from the fire, and imme* 
diately put in the powdered lapis lazuli, little by little, stirring 
it well with a stick, so that the turpentine may be well incor- 
porated witli the said powder. Then keep the saucer, with the 
pastille thus made, for three days, and the longer it stands 
the better. Afterwards take another larger saucer, and put 
the pastille into it, and take some dean tepid water, and poor 

^ So in original. 


faciendum cum lexivio, et sine morari per unum diem. Postea 
misce omnia ista bene, et pone in una olla de terra nova, et 
fac bulire per quartam partem unius hore. Postea habeas 
unum parvum succum, et pone intus omnia ista, et sine morari 
usquequo succus penetraverit, sive colaverit, et fac cadere in 
una paraside, sive eatino, de petra. 

109. Ad faciendum colorem croceum. — Accipe unam unciam 
de orpimento, et unam unciam de sulfure vivo, et distempera 
istum colorem cum lacte de figu, et est factum. 

110. Ad faciendum aqaam viridem. — Accipe grana de spino 
cervino, et ammusces sicut fit de vino sive raisinis, quando fit 
bullire in cuva pro vino faciendo, et tege et sine morari usque 
ad vj dies. Postea premas in una paraside, videlicet, in uno 
eatino de terra vitriato, et pone intus aliquantulum de alume de 

(«c), ne corrumpatur, et ponas de dicto alume secundum 
quantitatem dicti liquoris, et pone ad solem, et sine siccari. 
£t quando vis de ipso operari, accipe aliquantum liscivii, et 
mitte intus ; et si vis facere pulcrum colorem viridem, fac quod 
habeas pulcrum azurrum, et misce cum ista aqua; et scias 
quod ad istud negotium melius est azurrum de Alemannia, 
quam ultramarinum, dum modo sit bonum in perfectione. 

111. Ad faciendum azurium ultramarinum. — Accipe libras 
ires lapides lazuli, et pistes valde bene in uno mortario de 
cupro, et fac postea penetrare per unam stamignam, qua 
utuntur arom^tarii, quando faciunt penetrare aromata post- 
quam pestaverint. Postea habeas libras tres de trementina, et 
ponas in una scutella vitreata, quam pones super cinerem 
caldum. Postea pone intus aliquantum de oleo olivarum, et 
si tu vides quod inceperit bulire, removeas ab igne, et statim 
pone intus dictum pulverem lapidis lazulli, paulatim, miscendo, 
et bene incorporando cum uno baculo, per modum quod ilia 
trementina sit bene incorporata cum dicto pulvere. Postea 
conserva dictam scutellam cum dicto pastille taliter confecto 
per tres dies, et si plus staret, melius valeret. Postea habeto 

VOL. I. H 


over the pastille as much as would fill a small saucer of the 
size of the saucer in which the pastille was kept, and wa^ tbe 
pastille well with your hands in the water, and then strain ^ 
water throu^ the cloth ; and having strained the water finoB 
the pastille in that manner three times, keep it in another lar^ 
saucer, for in it you will have the flower of the azure. Ako 
pour water agun over the pastille in quantity about three 
saucers* full, pouring it over three times, one saaoer iiill at a 
time, and do as you did before, and you will have good azure, 
but not so perfect as the first Also pour water on the pastiDe 
a third time, and do as you did before, and you will then have 
anotiier azure, yet not so perfect as the first or the second. 

112. To make the pastille with which the azure is prepared,^ 
Take 3 oz. of olive oil, also 2 oz. of turpentine, also i oz, d 
liquid varnish, also 2 sagii^ of good incense; and, in mj 
opinion, each sagium makes 1 sterling and a half. After^ 
wards prepare the oil in the following way : — Take a ^a^ed 
jar, and first put some of the oil into it, and next the two 
ounces of turpentine, and place it on a clear fire, and let them 
boil together for so long as it would take to say a PatemoEter 
and Ave Maria. Then put in the said 2 sagii of incense, and 
let them boil together for as long as it would take to say tbe 
miserere mei Deus twice. Then add the half ounce of liquid 
varnish, and let them boil together for as long as it would 
take to say the miserere mei Deus twice. Lastiy, pour in tbe 
remainder of the oil, and afterwards strain it throng a dean 
closely-woven linen cloth, and preserve it in a clean jar. 

113. To extract the azurnfrom the pastille. — Put the pastille 
into an earthen vase, and rub it very well with linseed oil, and 
afterwards make the said pastille into a roimd cake. Then 

^ A Sagium, or scruple, according to the Rioettario, weighed 24 gruos. 
The sagg^o mercantile weighed 24 grains. — Micett, Fior,^ p. 126. 


tinam aliam scutellam majorem, et in dicta pone dictum pas- 

tilium, et habeas de aqua nitida et clara tepide, et in dicto 

pastille pone quantitatem unius parve scutelle, que scutella eit 

quantitatis que erat prima scutella, in qua prius conseryasti 

dictum pastillum, et cum manibus lava bene dictum pastilium 

in dicta aqua, et tunc cola dictam aquam in dicto panno, et 

illam aquam, taliter colatam de pastillo, tribus vicibufi reseira 

in una alia majori scutella, quia in ista tu babebis florem azurii. 

Item altera vice ponas aquam in metipso pastillo, in quantitate 

Ilium scutellamm, ponendo per tres vices, et qualibet vice 

unam scutellam, et fac sicut fecisti prius, et habebis azurum 

bonum, set non tam perfectum sicut primum. Iterum, tercia 

vice, ponas aquam in metipso pastillo, et fac sicut fecisti alteris 

duabus vicibus, et tunc habebis alium azurum, set non erit in 

perfectione sicut primum nee secundum. 

112. Ad faciendum pasHUum de quo fit azurrum. — Accipe 
tres oncias de oleo olivarum, item duas oncias de trementina, 
item dimidiam onciam vemicis liquide, item duos sa^os boni 
incensi ; et, secundum opinionem meam, quodlibet sagium facit 
unum sterlingum cum dimidio. Fostea confice dictum oleum 
isto mode : in primis accipe unam ollam vitriatam, in qua pones 
prius de dicto oleo, poetea duas oncias de dicta trementina, 
postea pones juxta ignem clarum, et sine bulire ad invicem, 
tantum quod diceretur semel pater noster et ave Maria. 
Postea pones dictos duos sagios incensi, et dimitte bullire in- 
vicem tantum, quod bis diceretur " miserere mei Deus.^* Postea 
pone dictam dimidiam unciam de vemice liquida, et sine bulire 
tantum, quod diceretur bis miserere met Deus. Postea finaliter 
pone residuum de dicto oleo, et postea cola per unum pannum 
lineum nitidum bene intextum, et ponas in uno vaso nitido. 

113. Ad trahendum azurrum de pastillo. — Pone dictum pas- 
tilium in uno vaso de terra, et frica valde bene cum oleo de 
semine lini, et postea fac de dicto pastillo uniun panem ro- 



take warm ley, well strained and clear, and pour it on the 
pastille, and do the same thing a second and a third time, aid 
thus you will have three sorts of azure. Then remove tbe ky 
as well as you can, and put it afresh into another ley, and 
make it boil slowly and gently, and skim it. Tlien let it 
boil for an hour, and remove it from the fire, and pour off tise 
ley, and wash and strain it well. Make every three portxns 
boil in this way, and also each by itself; and also, if you wish 
to strsdn it together with the ley you can do it. 

114. To make the pastille from which the ultramarine is 
made, — Take 1 lb. of lapis lazuli and grind it well, and take 
three sagii of new wax. In my opinion these sagii are equal to 
1 sterling and a half each. Also three sagii of mastie, also one 
sagius of coarse incense, also one ounce of the before-mentioDed 
prepared oil, and then make a pastille in the following manner. 
First take the wax, and chew it well with your teeth, and pot 
it into a glazed jar. Then place it on the fire, and let it melt 
Next add the incense, and let it melt ; and then add the mastic, 
and let it boil slowly and gently for so long as it would take 
you to say the miserere mei Deus once. Then add half an ounce 
of the oil, and let it stand by the fire until it boils. Then re- 
move it from the fire, and keep stirring it till it is cold, or 
nearly so, when you must add the powder of lapis lazuli, and 
stir it until it becomes hard. Then take water that is slightly 
warmed, and put the pastille into it, and mix it until the water 
is well coloured. Then put it into a parasis or basin of glazed 
stoneware, and the perfect azure will immediately sink to the 
bottom of the basin, and you must then pour off the water care* 
fully ; or, you may keep it, if you wish to do so, and then pour 
off the water : add cold water, and wash the said azure well, 
mixing it with a stick. Then strain it through a closely- textured 
linen cloth, and pour off the water and dry it, and you will 
thus have perfect azure. 

115. To extract perfect azure, — First take a phial of cold ley, 
and put into it one drachm of the stone tuzia, well ground with 
the said ley, then wash the azure in it, and afterwards wash it 


^^indum; postea habeas lessivium tepidum bene colatum et 

crlarum, et pone in dicto pastillo, et siraili modo iterum facies 

Ijina et trina vice, et sic babebis de tribus maneriebus azurri. 

I^oetea atrahes lixivium quam melius poteris, et de uno pone in 

«Llio lexivio, et fac bulire paulatim et plane, et schiumabis [from 

schiumare] desuper ; postea sine bulire per unam faoram, et re- 

traJhe ab igne, et abstrahe lexivium, et lava bene, et similiter bene 

colabis, et fac omnibus tribus vicibus sic bullire, et qualibet vice 

pro se ; et etiam, si velis colare una cum lessivio, facere poteris. 

114. Ad faciendum pastzllum de quo fit dztirum ultramarinum. 
— Accipe unam libram de petra vel lapide lazuli, et tere bene, 
et accipe tres sagios de cera nova, qui sagii faciunt, videre meo, 
quilibet unum steriingum cum dimidio. Item tres sagios de 
mastich, item unum sagium large incensi, item unam onciam 
de oleo supra(ticto confecto, et postea fit pastillum tali modo. 
In primis accipe ceram, et mastica bene cum dentibus, et pone 
in una oUa vitriata. Postea pone juxta ignem et sine liquefieri. 
Postea ponas dictum incensum, et sine liquefieri ; postea ponas 
dictimi mastich, et sine bullire paulatim et plane, tantum quod 
diceretur semel " miserere mei Deus?^ Postea ponas dimidiam 
t>nciam de dicto oleo, et sine tantum stare juxta ignem quod 
buliat Postea remove ab igne, et commisce tantum quod sit 
refrigeratum, vel quasi ; postea pone dictum pulverem de lapide 
lazulli, et misce tantum quod veniat dura; postea accipe de 
aqua parumper calida, et pone supradictum pastillum, et tantum 
misceas, quod aqua sit bene colorata. Postea ponas in una 
paraside, sive catiuo, de lapide vitreato, et statim azurrum per- 
fectum submergetur in profundo cathini ; postea diligenter 
abstrahe aquam, et, si vis ipsam reservare, potes, et abstrahe 
dictam aquam, et ponas de aqua frigida, et laves bene dictum 
azurrum, miscendo bene cum uno ligno. Postea cola per 
panum lineum bene intextum, et abstrahe illam aquam, et 
siccabis, et sic babebis azurrum perfectum. 

115. Ad abstraJiendum azurrum perfectum. — In primis accipe 
unam fiolam de lissivio frigido, in qua pones intus unam drag- 
mam de lapide tuzia bene trita cum dicto lixivio, postea lavabis 


with cold water, until it remains pure and brilliant, and tfaoi 
you will have a perfect blue. 

116. To obtain a bltie^ not quite so perfect , — ^If you lite job 
may also make up the pastille again, as before directed, except 
that you must not add to it any of the before-mentioned lafk 
lazuli, and you must keep and knead this second pastille ai 
before directed with regard to the first, and thus you will have 
a second and a third kind of azure not so perfect. 

Whoeyer wishes to trj all these experiments ranst obflcrrc and note 
that the pounds nentioned here most be understood as of tvelrc 
ounces each, according to the Italian mode of reckoning^. 

Also in the said MS. it was thus written — " I received the faUowio^ 
receipt at Venice, on Tuesday the 4th day of May, 1410, fiwa 
Micbelino di Vesuccio, the most excellent punter among all the 
painters of the world." 

117. Azure is thus made. — Take 1 lb. of lapis lazolx and 
grind it well upon a porphyry slab ; then wash it wi& water 
and dry it» and reduce it to powder. The pastille is tfans 
made : — ^To each pound of powdered lapis lazuli take 1 lb. of 
Greek pitch, ij. oz. of liquid varnish, j. oz. of mastic ; pot into 
a rough jar xij. oz. of good common oil, i. e. linseed or olive oil, 
and make it boil ; then put the mastic and varnish in, powder 
into the oil, and stir it well with a stick, and when you see Aat 
they are dissolved add the Greek pitdi in powder, and let it 
boil a little, until the whole is incorporated. Then strain it 
through a cloth into cold water and knead it with your hands 
greased with common oil, and then incorporate the powdered 
lapis lazuli very carefully upon a slab with the pastille^ and let 
it stand for three days with the pastille. Afterwards eztaw^ 
the azure from the pastille in this way : — Stir it about with a 
stick in water that is a little more than tepid^ and keep it in as 
long as any colour .flows out; but if you cannot extract tiie 
colour put hotter wa;ter to it, and so keep adding water hotter 
and hotter by degrees until it brings out the colour. Lastly, 
pour off the water when it is at the hottest, and having ex- 
tracted all the azure and separated it from the water, make a 
very strong ley, and put the azure into smooth vases, and poor 


stZTimim, postea etiam lavabis cum aqua frigida, tantum quod 

remaneat purum et nitidum, et sic habebis perfectum azurnim. 

116. Ad habendum azurrum non adeo perfectum. — Si vis, fac 

.pastillum etiam de novo, sicut dictum est de super, cxcepto 

<juod tu non debes ponere aliquid de dicto lapide lazullino, et 

istud secundum pastillum debes custodire et incorporare, sicut 

dictum est de super in prime, et sic habebis azurrum in secundo 

et tercio modo non adeo perfectum. 

Sit autem monitos, vel advertat, qukmmque habet omnia ista ezperiri, 
quod libre, de quibus in eia fit mencio, intelligantur de duodecim 
unciis quelibet libra, secundum morem italicum. 

Item in eodem ezemplari sic erat scriptuni, <* hoc sequend experimen- 
tum hujusmodi, in Veneciis, die martis, IIII mail, anni 1410, a 
Michelino de Vesucio, pictore ezcellentissimo inter omnes pictores 

in. Azurrum sic Jit, — Recipe libram unam lapidis lazuli, 

et tere bene in lapide porfirico, Postea ablue ipsum cum aqua 

clara, deinde desica et reduce ipsum in pulverem. Pastillum 

•sic fit; ad libram unam pulveris lapidis, pone lihram unam picis 

grece, oncias ij. vemicis liquide, aac. i. masticis ; ponantur in 

oUa rudi <xic. iij. olei communis, id est lini, vel olive, et boni, et 

fac bullire, et tunc mastice et vemicem pulverizatam pone in 

oleo, et bene moveas cum ligna £t cum videas resoluta, pone 

piscem pulverizatam, et permitte parum bullire, donee omnia 

fiierunt bene incorporata. Postea cola per pannum in aqua 

irigida, et manicetur manibus oleo communi, et postea pulver 

lazulli incorporetur super lapidem cum dicto pastillo, et optime, 

et dimittatur per tres dies in dicto pastillo. Postea extrahatur 

azurrum de pastillo hoc modo ; misceatur cum baculo in aqua 

calida, parum plusquam tepida, et taliter teneatur, quousque 

aliquid exiverit Si vero non exiret, ponatur aqua magis calida, 

et sic gradatim, mittendo aquam calidiorem, et miscendo, donee 

aliquid exiverit ; ultimo ponatur aqua quando magis fervet, et 

extracto* toto azurro, et separate ab aqua, et sicato, fiat lexivium 

fortissimiun, et ponatur azurrum in planis vasis, et superius 

ponatur lexivium, sicut nosti, ut cxeant immoudicii pastilli, quo 

purgato, dulcifica cum aqua clara, etc. 


the ley upon it, in order, as you know, to get rid of the im- 
purities of the pastille. Having thus purified it, wash it witi 
clean water, &c. 

In the year of the Circamcision of Christ, 1410, on the 2nd dajd 
February, after that Master Johannes de (*) C* Nomn, 

who was residing in the house of Master Petma de Yerooa, wW 
knows how to refine or make ultramarine azure, and does refine or 
make the said azure when he wants it) had told me, Johannes 
Alcherius, at Paris, the process which is used in making thesud altrt- 
marine azure, I noted down and made the present writing, acoordioK 
to my opinion, and according to the things which I heard from kin, 
and also according to the things which I saw in divers treatises «»- 
ceming this, and as I heard from divers other persons. 

118. To clearif refine^ or make ultramarine azure with a 
pastille; or to make it with lapis lazuli groxmd to powder^ aad 
to purify the powder with a pastille. — Pound and grind very 
fine and dry in a copper mortar fine ultramarine lapis laxoli, 
which is the better in proportion as it is of a deeper and mare 
brilliant sky blue, namely when the colour is not too pale or 
whitish, and the stone itself is not mixed with parts that are 
not of a blue colour, but of a yellow or earUiy and whitish 
colour. And if, as it sometimes happens, the stone camiot be 
obtained in pieces, but the powder of it, which the salesmen call 
azure, can be obtained, although not refined or purified^ take it 
and try whether it is fine, by heating it in the fire upon an iron 
plate. If it does not change its colour or get dull it is good. 
Then grind this powder excessively fine, upon a hard and smooth 
stone, with clean water, in the same way that colours are 
ground. Then dry it, and reduce it to powder, and make the 
pastille for purifying the said powder or azure, of the following 
things, in this manner : — 

Put mto a glazed earthen vase, 8 oz. of turpentine. His 
must be softened by warming, so that it may be stirred and 
washed ; and it must be washed several times with pure warm 
water, stirring the water and the turpentine with a stick, and 

> So in original. 


Anno circoncisionis 1411, die ij Februarii, post quam magister 
Johannes de ('<<^)» Normanus, commorans in domo magistri 

Petri de Verona, qai sit afinare vel facere azamim ultramarinum, et 
alinat diatim, seu facit, cum ezpedit, dixit mihi Jobanni Alcberio, in 
Parisiis, modum quo utitur afiniando, seu faciendo ipsum azurrum, 
notavi, et feci presentem scripturam, secundum avisum meum, et 
juzta eaque ab ipso audivi, et juxta eaque per diversas scripturas 
vidi de boc, et a diversis aliis personis audivi. 

118. Ad purgandum^ vel afinandum^ seu faciendum^ azurrum 
ultramarinum cum pastillo^ seu ad faciendum illud de lapide 
lazulli, trito in pulvercy et purgando pulverem cum pastillo. — 
Polverizatur et teritur subtilissime ad siccum, in mortario 
cupri, lapis lazuUi ultramarinus finus, cujus bonitatis est major, 
quanto est magis celestis colons, et vivi, videlicet quod non sit 
nimis clarus color et albescens, seu quod lapis ipse non sit im- 
mixtus de partibus non celestini colons, set crocei, vel terrestis, 
et albescentis ; et si, ut quandoque accidit, non invenitur lapis, 
et inveniatur pulver de ipso factus, quern vendentes appellant 
azurium, dato quod non sit afinatus seu purgatus, accipiatur et 
probetur si fit finum, ponendo ipsum ad ignem super lamina 
ferri, et si non mutat colorem, vel pejorat, est bonum ; deinde 
pulver illud teratur super lapide duro, piano, bene subtiliter 
cum aqua clara, ut teruntur colores, postea siccetur, et rediga- 
tur in' pulverem, et fiat postea pastillus, pro purgando dictum 
pulverem seu azurium, de rebus sequentibus, hoc modo. 
Accipiantur in vase terreo vitreato uncie octo tormentine, que 
si vel sic intepidetur, ut sit aliquantulum mollis, ut possit agi- 
tari lavando earn, et lavetur pluries cum aqua clara tepida, 
agitando aquam et tormentinam simul cum baculo, et jactando 
aquam, ita quod termentina fiat bene alba, clara, et purgata, 


then throwing away the water, so that the torpentme maj be 
bleached, cleaned, and purified. This is my own advice, 
although Master Johannes did not say that it would be better. 
Then add to it 2 oz. of pine resin, or Greek pitch, and 2 oz. of 
new wax, and melt or liquefy all these things together oyer the 
fire, and mix them well, and it will make the pastille, which 
must afterwards be allowed to cool a little, so that it may be 
just tepid and soft, and not liquid, but rather solid. 

Then add viij., x., or xij. oz. of the said powdered Iap» 
lazuli, putting it in by degrees, and mixing the pastille and the 
powder with a stick, so fliat the powder may be well incorpo- 
rated with the pastiUe, and let it rest for about a day and a 
night or longer. 

Then pour over it a quantity of warm water sufficient to 
cover the pastille, and let it stand for a short time, so thai it 
may not be melted, but only warmed and softened sufficiency 
to allow it to be kneaded and stirred with the stick. After- 
wards, if the water has become too cold, add more hot water, 
which thus being added to the former becomes and also causes 
the pastille to become of a convenient heat. It would there- 
fore be more convenient in summer than in winter on account 
of the heat Stir the pastille gently with a stick or a woodeo 
spoon, and pour off the water, and the azure that is extracted 
with it, into another glazed earthen jar. And because the 
azure on account of its weight sinks presently to the bottom 
of the water, the water must be immediately poured off into 
another glazed earthen jar, lest any yellowish or white and 
earthy impurities, which are not so heavy as the azure, and 
which therefore do not sink to the bottom so soon, should, per- 
haps, render the water turbid ; and if the water should be turbid, 
these impurities will sink to the bottom along with the azure, 
which it will contaminate by being mixed with it. Afterwards 
wash the said pastille again several times in the same manner 
with warm water, not allowing it to cool or harden, but keep- 
ing it at a proper degree of heat and softness ; always pouring 
off the water of each washing, together with the azure ivfaich 


quod advisayi ego^ dato quod ipse magister JohaDnes non 

dixerit erit melius* Postea ponantur in ipsa oncie due picis 

rase^ seu grece, et oncie due cere nove^ et fundantur aeu 

liquefiant hec omnia simul ad ignem, et misceantur bene, et iste 

erit pastillus, qui postea dimittatur aliquantulum infrigidari^ 

ita quod sit solum tepidus et mollis, et non liquidus, set ali- 

quantuliun obduratus. Deinde ponantur in ipso oncie viii^, 

vel x**°, vel xii*^*™, dicti pulyeris laziQli lapidis, paulatim im- 

ponendo, et cum baculo pastillum cum pulvere miscendo, ita 

quod bene incorporetnr pulver cum pastillo ; postea dimitatur 

per circa diem et noctem, vel plus, deinde ponatur de aqua 

calida, ita quod pastillus cooperiatur, et stet paucum, ut efficia- 

tur non liquefactus, sed tepidus et mollis, ut possit cum baculo 

agitari et misceri. Postea, si aqua erit nimis infrigidata, et 

suponatur de alia calida, que sic fit alteri adita remaneat, et 

pastillus cum ea ad tepiditatem convenientem reducatur. 

Igitur melius fit hoc in estate, pro calido, quam in hieme ; et 

misceatur pastillus cum baculo, vel spatula ligni, moderato 

modo, et azurrium, quod exibit cum aqua, imndttatur, cum ipsa 

aqua lavature sue, in alio vase terreo vitriato. Et quia aziuium 

subito, pro ejus ponderositate, descendit ad fondum aque, est 

cito post ejus descensum proficienda est aliquo alio vase terreo 

vitreato, ne aliqualis turpitudo albescens, vel crocea, et terres- 

tris, que non est tam ponderosa, ut azurrium, et igitur nee tam 

cito descendit ad fundum, et qua turpedine forte ipsa aqua es 

aliqualiter turbida, si aliqualiter ex ea turbida erit, descendat 

ad fondum cum azurrio, et ipsum deturpet se sibi immiscendo ; 

et postea iterum relavetur simili modo dictus pastillus pluribus 

vidbus cum aqua tepida, non dimittendo ipsum pastillum infiri- 

gidari nee indiu^, set tenendo ipsum in tepiditate et moUicie 

debita, et semper aquam, ad quamlibet laraturam cum azurro 

exeuntem quem secum traxerit et dixerit, mittendo in dicto 

vase, in qua prima missa erit, donee videatur quod azurrium 

incipiat exire a pastillo tanto minus bonum, seu minus pulcrum 

in colore ejus, quam primum, quod ex nimia difierencia con- 

veniat non plus ipsum ulterius ex aliis lavaturis exeuntem 


comes ojBT with it and is mixed with it, into the vase in which 
the first was put, until you see the azure come out of the pas- 
tille so much inferior in colour that on account of the too great 
difference of colour it is not proper to mix this last with the 
azure proceeding from the former washings, but it shonid be kept 
separate. You must then put what comes off with the subae- 
quent waters into another vase, separate from the first, and 
pour off in a similar manner the water of the washings into die 
same vase in which you put the water of the former washing 
And afterwards wash the azure again secondly as many times 
as you were directed to wash the first sort aforesaid, namely 
until the colour changes so materially for the worse, and thai, 
on account of the too great change in the colour, let the subse- 
quent waters be poured off into another third yase, until the 
whole pastille h washed in such manner that all the colour 
which can be extracted from the pastille is obtained. There 
will thus be three sorts of azure. 

Next, pour off the water of all these different washings into 
the other vase, which contains the rest of the water of the said 
washings, and let the azure, which was thus made and refined, 
dry, and keep it for use in painting pictures. Then stir the 
aforesaid water, consisting of a mixture of all the washings of 
the three sorts of azure, well from the bottom with a stick, so 
as to mix up the grounds of the azure and the earthy parts, 
and so that the water may be as turbid as possible ; let it stand 
for a very, very short time, and then immediately pour the 
water quickly off, with all the earthy impurities mixed with it, 
leaving in the bottom of the vase any azure which may sink to 
the bottom, if there should have been any portion of it with the 
water, as there usually is in this manner of refining the azure, 
namely with the water which is poured off from the three sorts 
of azure. 

And note that when it is wished to use the ultramarine 
azure, which is made from the three sorts of waters above 
mentioned, it must not be ground upon a stone, as is done with 
smobrium and other colours, because the grindmg which it had 


miscere cum primo, set teneri separate ; et tunc quod exibit 
ad alias sequentes lavaturas pastilli suprascripti ponatur in alio 
vase, separatim a primo, et similiter mittendo aquam dictarum 
lavaturarum in dicto vase, in quo alia aliarum lavaturarum 
missa erit. Et postea iterum secundo per tot vices lavetur, 
quod similiter ut de suprascripto primo dictum est, videatur 
quod nimis mutet colorem in minori pulcritudine; et tunc, 
ab ipsa nimia mutatione colons antedicta, ponantur tertio 
sequentes lavature in alio vase, donee pastillus totus sit taliter 
lavatus, quod extractum sit de ipso totum azurium quod ex* 
trahi potent ; et sic erunt tres sortes azurii, de quibus dictis 
lavaturis similiter iniciatur aqua in predicto alio vase, cum alia 
aqua omnium aliarum lavaturarum predictarum, et postea de- 
siccari permittatur azurium, quod sic erit afinatum et factum, 
et servetur ad usum operum fiendorum, et qua predicta, acu* 
mulata de omnibus dictis lavaturis dictarum trium sortarum 
azurii, agitetur fortiter cum baculo usque ad fondum, ut fecies 
azurii et pars terrestris commoveatur, et turbidetur aqua 
quantum poterit ; deinde valde parum stet, et postea proiciatur 
cito ipsa aqua, cum tota turpedine suprascripta terrestri in ipsa 
immixta, et retineatur in fundo vasis ilia aliqua pars azurii que 
in ipso fondo erit descensa, si aliqua pars adherit, ut esse solet, 
in talibus affinaturiis azurrii de dependenciis, scilicet dictarum 
trium sortarum azurii ; et nota, quod cum dicto azurrio ultra- 
marine dictarum lavaturarum ipsarum trium sortarum in opere 
ponere volueris, non debet teri super lapide, nee aliter, prout 
fit de siuobrio et aliis coloribus, quia suflSsit de prima supra- 
scripta tritione facta, et etiam quia azurii color fortiter pejaretur 
et vastaretur, sed debet sic ut est destempari cum aqua gomata, 
seu cimi clara ovi, vel cum cola liquefacta, aut cum oleo semi- 
num lini, prout volet operari, et pertinebit operi fiendo ; postea 
si voluerit alio azurrio, accipiatur totidem de tormen- 
tina, et pice, et cera, ut antea est dictum, et fiat alter pastillus, 
et fiat ut prius, et tociens quociens fieri voluerit, semper re- 
faciendo novos pastilles, secundum quantitatem que expedit 
volenti facere et purgare azurrium. Set credo quod, pro 


( 112 ) 



This MS. aflFords internal proof that Petrus de & 
Audemar (Pierre de St. Omer ?) was a native of or a 
resident in the northern part of France. Many passages 
in the MS. prove that it is of French origin ; among 
these I may mention that in which is described die 
Rothomagensian green, which derived its name from 
Rothomagus, the Latin name for Rouen on the Seine. 
Madder also, which is called in French Garance, is 
mentioned under the term Warancia, and in No. 201 a 
recipe is given for making a green colour after the 
Norman manner. There are indications also of some 
of the recipes being derived from English or Anglo- 
Saxon sources, and thence communicated to their fel- 
low-subjects in Normandy. In No. 162 the English 
name for Folium is mentioned, and in Nos. 199 and 
201 two other English plants are named. These last 
recipes are to be found in the Mappse Clavicula, but 
without the addition, in No. 201, of the words "ac- 
cording to the Normans." Several other recipes be- 
longing to this MS. are also in the Clavicula ; some 
are found in the 1st book of Theophilus, and some 
in the Sloane MS., No. 1754. 

The date of the MS. is doubtful. Mr. Eastlake 
(Materials for a History of Painting in Oil, p. 45) says 


it cannot be placed later than the end of the thirteenth 
or beginning of the fourteenth century. The fact of 
some of the recipes being in the Clavicula, which is 
supposed to be of the twelfth century, aflfords no evi- 
dence of the age of the MS., because some of them are 
comprised in the body of the work, but the greater 
part are to be found in the very beginning, even before 
the table of contents, and these seem to have been an 
addition to the original work. It is by no means im- 
probable that these recipes were selected in both cases 
from some well-known originals as yet undiscovered. 

The MS. contains the usual recipes for colours, for 

ink, and for gilding. Among the colours we find greens 

prepared in different ways from copper and vegetables ; 

white from lead, black from charcoal, blue from silver, 

from copper, and from flowers. Ultramarine does not 

appear to have been known to our author. It seems 

from the description of the mode of purifying the blue 

pigment in No. 168, that it was a natural blue ore of 

copper, the Azzurro della Magna of Cennini (chap. Ix.), 

which was extensively used both before and after the 

introduction of ultramarine, and which was produced 

in great abundance in the mines of Chessy, near Lyons. 

This mine was worked for a long period, and continued 

to produce great quantities of the blue ores of copper. 

It is now, however, closed. In the year 1845 I saw 

many specimens of these ores exposed tor sale at 


The red pigments consisted of artificial vermilion, 
red lead, which the author calls " minium " and " san- 
daraca," and lake made from the gum of the ivy. It 

VOL. I. I 


will be observed that the latter is also called ** Sinopii 
de Mellana." 

The only yellow pigment is saffiron, but the principal 
use of this colour appears to have been in colouriiig 
varnishes, the yellow in old pictures being more £ne- 
quently represented by gold. 

Like Cennini, Peter de S. Audemar teaches what 
vehicles should be used with each colour, and froai 
these instructions we learn that the colours were ap- 
plied on walls in secco, tempered with egg or gum ; in 
books, that is, miniatures with gum or e^ ; and on 
wood with oil — ^thus affording certain proof of the use 
of oil in painting at this period in France. 

That varnish was used, is incidentally mentioned in 
the recipe for making auripetrum, which was a varnish 
to which a golden colour was imparted by saflBron, and 
which, when spread over tinfoil, was employed to imi- 
tate gold. A similar recipe is given in Eraclius, and 
another will be found in the Lucca MS^ which has 
been copied into the Clavicula, a proof of the extent to 
which it was used. A gold colour was also given to 
tin by applying over it several coats of gall (see Na 
203), and also by applying a solution of aloes, No. 206. 
Other varnishes are described in Nos. 207, 208, and 
209 ; and it seems these also must have been highly 
coloured, because they were to be used like the auri- 
petrum, for colouring tin to imitate gold, the price of 
which placed it beyond the reach of all but the ridi. 
As to the materials of the varnishes, one was composed 
of linseed oil, resin, and vemixy that is, sandarac; 
another of linseed oil boiled with the inner bark of 


the black plum, glassa^ alum, and dragon's blood; 

and the third of the same linseed oil previously boiled 

with the inner bark of the black plum, resin, and 

Jranhincense. We must therefore suppose that three 

different ingredients were used for varnishes, for it is as 

reasonable to conclude from the text that they were all 

synonymous, as that vernix and glassa were the same 

in this instance, for it can scarcely be supposed that 

Peter de S. Audemar, who must have been in the habit 

of making these varnishes, should have used a different 

term, if any two had been synonymous. 

It will also be observed, that there is no allusion in 
this MS. to the application of varnish upon colours or 
pictures, or to any other preparation of oil, except 
boiling it with the inner bark of the black plum (the 
object of which, if we may believe the Table of Syno- 
nymes, was to give the oil a yellow colour) before it 
was mixed with the resins ; at the same time there is 
nothing to show that this boiled oil was not used in 
painting. The fact of "liquid varnish" being men- 
tioned in the recipe for Auripetrum, No. 202, is suffi- 
cient proof that it was in use at this period, and that 
the drying effect produced on oils by boiling was 
known, because sandarac is not soluble in raw oils, and 
distilled oils were not used at this period. The recipes 
Nos. 208 and 209 much resemble those in the Paris 
MS. of Eraclius, No. 274. 


( 116 ) 






By the assistance of God, of whom are all things diat 
are good, I will explain to you (at whose request, as 
you know, I undertook this work) how to make colours 
for painters and illuminators of books, and the vehicles 
for them, and other things appertaining thereto, as 
faithfully, as I can in the following chapters. 

150. The way to make a green colour with salt. — Krst hear 
how to make a green colour with salt : — Stir some salt toge- 
ther in a jar or in a ladle, and heat it, stirring it frequently 
until it loses its former colour and becomes dusky — Le. darkish. 
Then pound it, and, if necessary, pass it through a sieve, 
shaking it with your hand, in the same way that boys arc 
accustomed to shake dust in a bottle ; sift it into a jar, or any 
other vase which will hold it, in order that, if by chance any 
hairs or other impurities be mixed with it, they may be sepa- 
rated ; as otherwise, if it continue white, or if any impurities 
remain in it, the colour will be dirty. Afterwards crush it 
well, dry as it is, upon a flat slab, either of marble or wood, 
with a smooth wooden block made for this purpose, or with a 
stone. Then temper some soap witli wine or vinegar. Vine- 
gar is made as follows. 

151. How to make vimgar. — Take good wine, or wine as 
sour as you can get it, and put it into a jar or any other vase, 

( 117 ) 





Deo opitulante, cujus sunt omnia que bona sunt, tibi, 
6icut novisti, cujus rogatu hoc opus sum a^ressus, de 
coloribus pictorum et illuminatorum librorum faciendis, 
de temperamentis que eorum, et de aliis hiis conve- 
nientibus, quam fidelius potere in sequentibus expli- 

150. De mode faciendi viridem colorem de sale, — Primo quo 
luodo ex sale fiat intellige ; salem igitur commiscens in oUa 
seu patella torribb, saepius movendoy usque quo primum 
colorem amittat, et fuscus fit, id est subniger. Deinde pulve- 
rizabis, et, si opus fiierit, induces cum stamino, et manu mo- 
vendo, sicut pueri pulverem in catrasia positum agitare solent, 
et trauRire facies in ollam, vel in aliud quodcumque vas, illud 
recipiens ut si forte pili, vel aliae sordes, ei commixtad fiierint, 
seque ferentur alioquin, si albus remanserit, aut aliquod turpe 
in ipso remanserit, turpis color erit. Postea super tabulam 
sequalis superficiei, vel marmoream, vel ligneam, bene subtiliter 
ita siccum conteres cum ligno ad hoc parato equali, vel cum 
lapide. Deinde savonem cum vino vel aceto distemperabis. 
Acetmn vero sic fit 

151. Qaomodojit acetum. — Sume vinum optimum, vel quan- 
tum acrius habere potes, et in ollam positum, geu vase alio, 



and let it stand for 5 or 8 days, or for as many days as yon 
like, in a vase covered with a plank or a stone, and not ^tirdj 
closed, in order that it may feel the changes of the air, wMdi 
cause it to turn sour ; and let it acidify by exposing it to the 
sun, or suspending it over the fire. You can tlien put it by, 
and preserve it as long as you like. 

If you have no soap, never mind; yet, nevertheless, wet 
plates of copper or basins,^ cut into pieces or strips, all over 
with pure wine, without water, or else with the vinegar. After- 
wards spread salt well and evenly over the metal, so that the 
copper may be entirely covered, but very thinly and eYcnly, 
because, if it be covered too thick, the colour will not be good. 
You must have a vase prepared for the purpose, either of earth 
or of wood, in the bottom of which you must pour a little wine 
or beer, or stale urine, which is better than fresh, and place 
the copper, salted as before directed, inside the vase. But, in 
order that it may not slip into the wine or urine, let it be sup- 
ported by putting a piece of wood over the jar, to which the 
said slips or curved pieces (if formed by cutting up basins or 
cups) must be suspended side by side, so as not to touch one 
another. Then stop up the mouth of the jar, lest any duiJg 
should fall into it, and put plenty of horse-dung all round it, 
and under it and over it, and leave it in that manner to heat in 
the dung for 8 or 9 days, and you will then find your salt 
turned green, and of an excellent colour. The hotter the dui^ 
is, the sooner it will be done. You may, if you like, wait for 
17 or 18 days before you uncover it and remove the coloor. 
And in winter and summer, according as you find the heat d 
the dung greater or less, you will so time your work ; and also 
according to whether the plates are made of copper or brass, 
as aforesaid, knowing that if they are of copper the woiii will be 
done — i,e. the colour will be made sooner; but if they are 
made of brass it will be longer before it is made. Heat accele- 
rates the formation of the colour, cool weather retards it, and 

^ When the word *' basin" is used alone, a vessel of copper or brass 
should be understood. 


quinque, vel octo, vel quot voluerifl diebus, vase cooperto asce 
vel lapide, et non obturato, ut aeris mutaciones sentiat^ quae 
acuere facit, et ad solemn vel super ignem, suspeusum, acui 
permitte, et sic quantum diu volueris repositum servare poteris. 
Si autem savoDem non habueris, non &dt tibi cure, nihilominus 
tamen ex vino puro absque aqua, si vel ex dicto aceto, laminas 
cupreas ex omni parte humectabis, vel bacinos decisos per 
pecias seu laminas. Et postea ex ipso sale asperge bene et 
equaliter per totum, ita ut cuprum totum coopertum sit, tamen 
tenuissime et equaliter, quia si spissum fiierit non babebit 
optimum colorem. Unuro vero vas habebis ad hoc paratum, 
vel ligneum^ yel fictile, in cujus fiindo pones parum vini, yel 
oervisiae, aut aceti, yel urinam, nihilominiis yetustam, quae 
melior ad hoc probatur, et desuper in ipso yase pones cuprum, 
sicut jam dixi, salituuL Sed ne labatur in yino yel urina, sus- 
tineatur ligno superposito, cui suspendantur dictse laminas in 
aere, siye autem recte sint laminae, seu curyae, ut de de bacinis, 
vel patellis incisis, sint juxta se alia post aliam, non se tangentc. 
Postea 08 ipsius oUe obtures, ne fimus introcadat, et fimum 
equinum habimdanter, et sub yase, et in drcuita, et super- 
pones, et sic isto modo, in dicto fimo califactum, octaya yel 
nona die salem viridem recipies, et optimum. Et quanto fer- 
yencius callescet fimus, tanto fiat citius. £t tum nihilominus, 
si yolueris, usque ad xvii. yel xyiii. dies expectabis, antequam 
discoperias yas, et recipias colorem. Et in estate, et in byeme, 
mcut senseris calorem stercoris yel fimi majorem yel minorem, 
ita tuum laborem moderabis ; et tam de aeneis, quam cupreis 
tabulis, sicut dixi, sdens que si cupreae fuerint, citius fiet 
opus — L e. colorabitur — si yere aeneae, tardius. Calor ejus, ac- 
celerat colorem, sed tepiditas tardat ; frigiditas yero nil agit ; 
et notandum est, quod si dictum yas cooperieris in fimo existenti 
in stabulo equi, in alio secreto et calido loco, melius yalet, et 
opus acceleratur, quia interius calefit Hoc idem agere potes 
in cumulo yinciarum, ad pressorium yini. Ilunc autem colo* 


cold stops it altogether : it must also be remarked^ that if the 
vase is corered with dung in a horse-stable, or in some odicr 
warm and close space, it is better, and the work will progresi 
more rapidly, because it is better warmed. The same thing 
can be done in the heaps of grape-skins by the wine-presBes. 
You must then scrape and shave off the colour with a knife, or 
any other instrument, from the aforesaid plates, and if yoa find 
that any white salt has remained mixed with the green colour, 
you need not be vexed at it, but just pick it out with a knife or 
with your hand ; and you must afterwards wash these tablets 
with water, preserving the water, if necessary. Then wash, 
scour, and clean them a second time, with wood-ashes, rubbing 
them down with a linen cloth before you put fresh salt upon 
them, lest, if any of the old remained upon it, it should be a 
hindrance. You must allow the water of the first washing, 
which was done without the ashes, to remain quiet, so that yoo 
may collect the colour which sinks to the bottom, throwing 
away the supernatant water. This colour may be distempered 
and mixed with water, or still better, with vinegar, and also 
with linseed-oil, or even with white of egg. 

152. How to make and temper white and green. — ^White and 
green colours, without salt, are made and tempered as follows: 
Pour very strong vinegar into a vase, and place twigs of trees 
across it inside the vase, and then place strips of lead, and other 
strips of copper or brass, suspended in the air by means of die 
twigs, so as not to touch the vinegar or each other. Then close 
the vase very carefully, and lute it with clay or cement, or 
wax, so that there may not be the least hole through which the 
vinegar may exhale. Then cover it with horse-dung, and, after 
30 days, on account of the acidity of the vinegar or the wine— 
for the wine, on account of the heat of the dung, will become 
vinegar — on account, I say, of the acidity of the wine or vinegar, 
the copper or brass will be found to be turned green, and the 
lead white. Take the white, dry it, and grind it, and temper 
it with wine, and use it for painting on parchment, and mix it 
with oil for painting on wood and on walls. In the same maimer 


rem postea cum cultello, vel alio instrumento, a laminis pre- 

dictis extirpere et radere debes, et si aliqiiantulum de albo sale 

cum yiridi remansisse invenies, non sit tibi curae, sed caute cum 

cultello vel manu separa, et projice. Viridem autem reservan- 

dum excipe, et postea .ipsas tabulas debes primo cum aqua 

lavare, si opus fuerit, servando aquam. Deinde secundo etiam 

cum cinere, et pauno lineo fricando, lavabis, detergas, et 

nitidas, autequam super ipsas alterum salem ponas, ne si quid 

ex yeteri remansit, impedimento fiat. Cujus lavationis primae 

aquam, qus absque cinere erit, quiescere dimitte, ut colorem, 

qui in fundo remanet, coUigas, projiciendo aquam. Hie color 

cum aqua, yel melius cum aceto, et etiam cum oleo liui, dis- 

temperatur, et moUitur, nee non et cum vitello ovi. 

152. De albo et viridi colore quomodo Jiunt et distemperantur, 
— AlbuB autem et viridis color, absque sale, hoc modo fit et 
distemperatur. In vase aceto acerrimo imposito, et desuper 
virgulas ligneas, intra vas, et sic tabulas plumbeas, et alias 
seneas, vel cupreas, pones virgulis suspensas in acre, ne tangant 
acetum, nee se invicem. Deinde vas diligentissime claudes, 
liniesque de argilla, vel cemento, vel cera, ne aliquod spiracu- 
lum remaneat, per quod exalatio fiat Deinde co-operiatur in 
fimo equino calido ; post dies autem xxx. vas aperiatur, et ex 
fortitudine aceti vel vini, quod vinum excalore find devenerit 
acetum, et ex fortitudine ipsius vini vel aceti, cuprum vel ass 
virideum, plumbum vero album invenientur. Sumptum autem 
et are&ctum album, teratur, et temperetur cum vino, et pinge- 
tur in pergamenis, et cum oleo in lignis et in materiis. Simili- 
ter virideum cum oleo teres, et distemperabis, et operaberis in 
lignis, sed in materia cum vino, vel, si mavis, cum oleo. In 



grind and temper the green with oil, and use it for paintii^ on 
wood ; but on walls with wine, or, if you prefer it, with oiL Ob 
parchment, however, you must not grind it with oil, but yvm 
must temper it with very clear and good wine, or with yinegBr. 

153. Of a green toatery or colour, for writrng. — But if yoa 
wish to write letters, put the green powder of brass in wine or 
yinegar as aforesaid, and then stir it round a little wifb jtmr 
finger only, and immediately the whole of the wine or vinegar 
will be green. If the wine, before it has cleared itself from tbe 
dregs of the said green powder, is very green, you may knav 
that it has enough of the powder of brass. If it seems of a 
dirty colour, appearing contaminated by the admixture of 
yellow impurities, you must know that this is because a sufB- 
cient quantity of the green powder has not been added to it: 
you must therefore add a little more, and stir it again with 
your finger, and again let it rest ; and if it is not yet of a 
beautiful colour, add more of the powder, and stir it again with 
your finger, and, if necessary, do this a third time. But if you 
wish it to be very beautiful, add a little safiron ; and when 
it has settled so that the impurities have sunk to the bottom, 
pour ofi* the clear green liquid which stands uppermost in tlie 
vase, and you will thus separate it from the impurides and 
gross substance of tbe safiron that was put into it If you 
wish to write with it immediately, you cannot do so unless 
you first let it boil over the fire to make it thicker ; or you may 
let it stand in the shade, or in the mild breeze of the evening 
or morning ; but it must be done when the wind blows gently, 
and must not be put in the sun. 

154. To make minium out of the before-mefntioned white eobmr. 
— The white colour which we mentioned before, is called, I 
believe, by the armourers ceruse, and you may convert it into 
minium by putting it into a jar and torrefying it over the fire for 
two days and two nights, stirring it frequently in the vase or 
jar vnth any instrument ; and this is the way to make mimum. 
Take care not to let any flame get inside the jar, but make the 
fire of charcoal only without flame ; you must heap the charcoal 


perchamenis vero non teres cum oleo, sed in vino clarissimo et 
l>ono, sen aceto, temperare debes. 

153. De aqua vel viridi colore ad scribendum. — Si vero lit- 

teras scribere volueris, pone viridem pulverem sens in vino vel 

aceto, ut dictum est, et sic digito tantum fncabis, et statim 

totum vinum vel acetum virideum erit ; quod si valde virideum 

fuerit illud vinum, cum necdum a fece sua dicte pulveris viridea 

Bit purgatum, scias quod sufficienter habet depulvere eris super* 

Bcripto. Si vero turpem . colorem videatur habere, et quaai 

crocei, turpidis commixtione corruptum, scias esse hoc habere 

parum pulveris ipsius viridis. £t ideo aliquantulum adde, et 

digito iterum commisce, et postea paululum quiescere sines, et 

si non ad hue pulchrum colorem habet, iterum adde de pulvere, 

et iterum digito fricabis, et postea adhuc sines quiescere, et, si 

necesse fiierit, fac similiter tercio. Et si vis quod wind pul- 

critudinis fiat, adde aliquantulum de croco et cum quieverit, ita 

quod feces ad fimdum decensa sint, mitte clarissimum virideum 

desuper stantem in vasculo, et sic ipsum separabis a fecibus, et 

a substancia grossa crossi imposite; et si ex ipso statim scribere 

volueris, non poteris, nisi prius ad ignem ipsum fervere permi* 

seris, ut spissior fiat, vel in umbra solis, vel mane, vel vespere, 

ad auram dulcem ; quando sed ventus suaviter fiat ponendus 

est, non autem in sole. 

154. Di minio faciendo de albo colore ante dicto. — Album 
autem colorem de quo supra diximus, scutarii, sicut puto, ceru- 
sam vocant, quem in minium vertes, si in oUa posueris duobus 
diebus noctibus que, eandem saepe movendo, in vase, seu oUa, 
ipsa cum aliquo instrumento ad ignem torrueris, et sic minium 
facies. Cave autem ne in oUa flamma nullo modo tangat, sed 
tantum carbones, verum absque flamma ; de quibus fac con- 
geriem albam, usque ad medietatem ollse, et cam ore aperto in 


round the jar, bo as to reach half-way up the jar, wMc^ miKt 
be put m the middle. The charcoal should be large, ao that 
the air may pass through the spaces of it, and keep np the 
heat; it should not be small, for it would then be nsriess. 
When it begins to get hot, stir the colour which is insdde it 
with a spoon, or with a strip of iron or brass, or a stick : ao 
that the hot colour, which is next the side of the vase, may be 
mixed with the tepid part in the middle ; for this stiiriiig is the 
principal cause of the perfect preparation of all which is thus 
torrefied ; and this stirring must be repeated four or five times 
in the space of every two or three hours. This process must 
be continued, as I said before, for two days and two nights 
following : not sleeping all the time, unless you have anotho- 
person to supply your place and to continue stirring it, as wdl 
as to take care of the fire, and to manage the operation, other- 
wise your labour will be in vain. When the large charcoal is 
all consumed, take the jar oif the fire with a blacksmith's 
pincers, or a twisted stick, or any other instrument, and throw 
away the small coal and ashes, and put fresh charcoal. We 
shall mention this colour frequently hereafter. 

155. How to make the green from brass wkichis called Greek or 
common green} — If you wish to make the copper-green which is 
called Greek, take a new jar, or any other concave vase, and put 
into it the strongest or most acid vinegar, so as not to fill it, and 
put strips of very clean copper or brass over the vinegar, so that 
they may not touch the vinegar or each other, being suspended 
to a stick placed across the vase. Then cover the vase and 
seal it, and put it into a warm place, or in dung, or under 
ground, and leave it so for six months, and tiien open the vase 
and scrape and shake out what you find in it, and on the strips 
of metal, into a clean vase, and put it in the sun to dry. 

156. To make Roihomagenxian green? — ^If you wish to make 
Rothomagensian green, take strips of very pure copper or brass, 

* This recipe and the next are in the Clavicula. 

* RothomaguSy Rouen on the Seine. This recipe is in the Cla?icali| 
and the Sloane MS., No. 1754. 


medio compone, carbones autem sint magni, et per rimas eorum, 
ventus entret, et calorem exerceat ; non minuti vero, quod non 
perficerent. Cum autem torreri coeperit, colorem, qui intus est, 
cum cocleari, yel lamula ferrea, vel aerea, yel lignea, commove, 
ut qui circa testam seu ollam calet, illi qui in medio loco tepet, 
misceatur. Nam commotio haec est principalis causa omnibus que 
coquuntur, ad perfectionem decoctionis ipsorum; hoc autem 
per duarum yel trium horarum spatium, quater vel quinquies. 
Duobus enim diebus ac noctibus continuis est agendum, sicut 
dixi, non dormiendo nisi alter accedat, qui hoc ipsum procuret, 
et commociones ipsas, et ignis curam, et manutenaciones agat ; 
alioquin frustra laborabis. Cum autem carbones grossi con- 
sumpti fuerint, vel forcisibus ferieris, vel virga couterata, vel 
alio quodum instrumento, ollam a foco extrahe, et minutos car- 
bones et cineres abjicies, et alios adhibe. De hoc eodem colore 
aliquanti spei in scquentibus loquimur. 

155. Quamodo Jit viride ens quod Grecum dicitur seu com- 
mune. — Si vis facere viride eris quod Grecum dicitur, accipe 
ollam novam, aut aliquod aliud vas concavum, et mitte in eo 
acetum fortissimum seu acerrimum, ita quod vas non sit ple- 
num, et laminas cupii mundissime, vel sens, pones supra 
acetum, ita ut non tangant acetum, aut se invicem, suspendendo 
eas ad aliquod lignum, in vase extranverso positum, et ita 
cooperi vas, et sigilla. Et sic pone illud in calido loco, aut in 
fimo, aut in terra, et ita dimitte usque ad sex menses, et tunc 
aperies illud vas, et quod in eo et circa dictas laminas inveneris, 
rade, et excute in vase mundo, et mitte ad solem siccare. 

156. De viride Bothomagense faciendo. — Si vis viridem 
Rothomagensem facere, accipe laminas purissimi cupri, vel 


smear them over with good soap, and put them into a clean vaae 
made for this purpose, and pour into it some pure vinegar; 
then suspend the strips of copper or brass in the vase to a stid 
stretched across it, which should be placed as high up as posablcy 
so that the strips may not touch each other or the yinegar. Tlxo 
cover up the vase and seal it, and put it into a warm place, aidii 
as horse-dung, or the refuse of the wine-press ; or, in winter, 
cover up and bury the vase in a deep hole under ground, and 
thus leave it for one month ; then open it, and shake and scraf^ 
off what you find upon the strips, putting it in a bason or an 
earthen vase ; place it in the sun to dry, and preserve it for lae. 

157. Also^ how to make verdigru for writing, — TVTioevcr 
wishes to make a green colour for writing, let him pour into a 
copper or brass vessel equal quantities by weight of honey well 
mixed with vinegar, and then bury the vessel in horse-dnng, in 
the hottest part of the heap. After 12 days are passed, he may 
take the colour out of the vase, scraping it out ; then dry it in 
the sun, and keep it for use. 

158. AlsOy how to make green without brass. — ^If you wish to 
make earth-green, take, in the middle of May, a bunch of the 
flowers of the herb columbine ; poimd them well in a mortar, 
and strain the juice through a linen cloth. Then put this juioe 
into a vase, and place it in tlie sun imtU it is hard. This must 
be tempered, first with water, and then with egg, on wood or 
on walls ; but on parchment it must be used like ceruse. 

159. Also to make green. — If you wish to make a green 
colour, take urine, or vinegar, and put it into a vase, and 
make a plate of brass, and place it over the liquid in the said 
vase so as not to touch the urine, and afterwards set the vase 
in a warm place and cover it up for 9 days, then take it oat 
and collect the colour which is produced. This is tempered 
first with water, and aft;erwards with egg on wood or on walk 
When you put verdigris upon paper, put cherry juice [or cer- 
visia ? j in it. If it is not of a fine green, mix viride terrenum. 
If it is too green, so as to be too dark, mix pure orpiment with it 

160. Also verdigris is thus made. — ^Take vinegar and put it 


aerifl, et liniis ipeas in circuitu de optimo savone, et mitte ipsas 
in vase mnndo ac hoc facto, et pone in ipso de puro aceto, et 
superpone in ipso rase dictas laminas cnpreas vel aereas, sus- 
pensas ad virgulam in vase ex transyerso^ altius quam poteris, 
sitam ita nt lamine non se invicem, nee acetum tangant. Pos- 
tea cooperies vas, et sigilla, et in calido loco, ut in fimo equino, 
aut in vinaciis pressorii vinarii, aut in hyeme sub terra, in pro- 
Amdo loco cooperias, et sepelias, dictum vas. £t sic dimittas 
imo mense, et postea aperies, et quod inveneris in circuitu la- 
minarum excuties et rades, et mittendo in bacino vel vase 
terreo, et pones ad solem siccare, et usui reserva* 

157. Item de viridi em, quo modofit pro scribendo. — Colorem 
viridem qui vult ad suum usum scribendi facere mel cum aceto 
valde mixtum equo pondere infundat ac deinde in sterquilinio 
equorum ubi plus calet in vase cuprea vel aereo cooperto posi- 
tum sepeliat Postea bis senis diebus transactis illud redpiet 
de vase ipsum colorem radendo et ad solum siccet et reservet 
pro usu. 

158. Item de Jiendo viridi aliter quam eris. — Si vis facere 
terreum viride ip medio maio accipe massam florum herbso qu£e 
vocatur aquileia et pila in mortario optime et cola succum per 
pannum lineum. Deinde pone ipsum succum in vase et pone 
ad solem siccare usque quo durum sit. Hoc distemperatur 
primum cum aqua, deinde cum ovo ad lignum vel murum, in 
carta pone sicut cerosium. 

159. Item de viridi faciendo. — Si vis facere colorem viridem, 
accipe mictum hominis, i. e. urinam, vel acetum et mitte in vas, 
et fac laminam eream, et pone desuper in dicto vase ita ut 
mictum non tangat et pone postea vas in calido loco et oooperi 
per novem dies postea trahe foris et colorem exortum execute. 
Hoc distemperatur primum cum ac^ua post cum ovo ad lignum 
vel murum. In cartam dum ponit viride eris pone succum 
cerosiuiA in ipso si non bene est viridis misce terrenum viridem. 
Si nimium est viride ita ut nigrescat misce auripigmentum 

160. Item eris viride sic fit. — Accipe acetum et pone in vaso 


into a brass or copper vase, and place it on the coals so as to 
boil strongly, skim it well, and grind it with a little alum upon 
a marble slab. Afterwards put it in a brass yaae, and thee 
leave it to settle for a day or two. Then pour off the saper^ 
natant liquor which floats over the dregs at the bottom into an- 
other vase, separating it from the before-mentioned impurities, 
and put it away and keep it for use. Then pour more Tinegar 
into the aforesaid sediment, and mix it well. Leave it so for 
four days, so that everything may settle, and it will then be good 
green. But if it is too clear or liquid, put it upon limited 
charcoal without flame, so that it may boil a little and tfaidLcn, 
and then put it into the vase, and keep it for use. 

161. How to make a heantiful green. — Mix Spanish greei 
with safiron, and distemper them both together, and the colonr 
will be of wonderful beauty. 

162. Of folium^ how it is distempered. — The purple colour 
called /oZiz/m by the laity, by whom (or rather by the EngUsfa, 
in whose country it is prepared, and who call it worina) it is 
used in dyeing wool, is not always tempered in the same manner ; 
for some persons distemper it with urine, or wiUi ley made from 
the ashes of ash-trees, and particularly on walls ; while others, 
on parchment, distemper it with cheese-glue, made as follows. 

163. How glue is made from cheese. — Fresh cheese is first to 
be washed in hot water, until the milk is washed out, and thai 
groimd with lime and water, in a little mortar or on a marble 
slab ; and a little before this is done — ^namely, while the cheese 
is being ground — the colour is soaked in water again. Then, 
when the cement is prepared, so as to be as wliite, clear, and 
shining as milk, it is put into a small vase, and the colour is 
scraped into it with a knife, and care must be taken not to let 
the air have access to the mixture ; and when the colour is seen 
to be good, it may be used for writing at pleasure. 

164. Of folium stamipiensi, a purple colour ^ how it is tern- 
pered or made. — Take the wood of the tree which is called 
elm and bum it in the fire, and collect such a quantily of that 
flowery ash which appears upon the coals as you think will be 


aereo vel cupreo et super carbones pone ut fortiter bulliat et 
Bpuma illud optime et ex eo cum alumine modico super mar- 
morem tere yiridem. Postea in vase aereo mitte et sic uno die 
vel duobus dimitte ut resideat. Illud autem quod super feces 
in fundo descensas nataverit in aliud vas a dictis fecibus sepa- 
rando, mitte et reserva deinde acetum iterum mitte in fecibus 
superscriptis, et misce bene. Postea dimitte sic per quatuor 
dies ut quicquid quiescat et tunc forte bonura viride erit. Si 
Tero nimium clarum seu liquidem fuerit pone super carbones 
ignitos absque flammis ut modicum bulliat et spissum fiet tunc 
mitte in prsedicto vase ad servandum usui. 

161. Quamodo puhhrum Jiat viride, — Viridi Hispanico ad- 
misce crocum et distempera simul et mirse pulcbiitudinis erit. 

162. De folio quomodo distemperatur. — Purpureus color quem 
folium Yocant laici qui lanam inde tingunt vel potius Anglici in 
quorum terra conficitur worina vooant non uno semper modo 
distemperatur. Nam aliqui cum urina vel lexivia de cinere 
fraxini facta ut in parietibus precipue alii in pergamenis cum 
visco de caseo ita facto. 

163. Quomodo vUcum de caseo fiat. — Primum recentum 
caseum in aqua calida lavant, donee lac eliciatur et sic ilium 
in mortariolo vel super marmorem terunt cum calce et aqua et 
paulo antequam hoc agant dum scilicet teritur caseus, iterum 
ipsum colorem in aqua temperare permittunt. Deinde cum 
viscum preparatum habent, sic album et nitidum et clarum 
relut lac. Inducunt in vasculo et super incidunt cultello ipsum 
colorem jam temperatum in aqua et tunc cavent ne ventus tan- 
gat ipsam confectionem et si cum riderit colorem esse bonum 
scribunt inde prout ipsis placuerit 

164. De folio Stamipiensi (sic) purpureo colore quomodo distem^ 
peratur seu fit. — Sume tibi ligna arboris quae ulmus vocatur et 
arde in ignem, ilium vero florem cineris qui super carbones ap- 
paret toUes et in unum pones quantum tibi sufficere putas et in 

VOL. I. K 


sufficient for you^ grind it in a mortar, and distempa" it viih 
urine so that it maybe as thick as dough ; make it into cakesas 
thick as you like, and put these cakes upon two trays or {data 
of iron, or baked bricks, in order that they may bum fiar a day 
and a half. Then take them outof the fire and pat them lolo a 
mortar and pound them until they are reduced to powder. TbcD 
sift this powder through a deve, or make it pass through a 
sifter. Again, while you are doing this, you mnat hare ajar 
prepared full of urine, and let it boil oyer the fire three or feor 
times ; then remoTe it from the fire, and add to it of fresh urine 
one half or less, until it is tepid, and then stir them together. 
Afterwards take the colour, which is called folium, and pat it 
into a vase, and wash it with this prepared urine, rubbuig it 
between your hands, and hold it against one side of the jar and 
throw away the urine; then take the above-mentioned ashes 
and fill one ladle with them, and take another ladlefal of 
folium, and lay one couch of ashes in that rase by sprinkliiig 
them, and then one of folium, and do so until the folium and 
the ashes are all mixed. Then again rub them between 
your hands, and so leave them for three days, well covered 
up by the fire, that they may keep warm. But the beat cokwr 
will of itself, when it begins to get warm, be covered all orer 
>nth a purple Uoom. If you wish to dye anytWng, put the 
water into a vessel ; but if you have nothing to dye, let the 
water and the folium cool, so that you may make it into flmall 
cakes, and you may keep it as long as you Uke, and put it into 
an oven. 

165. Of the different sorts of saffron^-^^Yoa must not take 
all kinds of saflron for pamting or writing with, for you must 
know that that which grows in our country of Gaul, as well as 
throughout the whole of France, is not good ; and although it 
has some resemblance to the good sort, yet it has not the exact 
colour, smell, or taste of the perfect sort ; for there is a certain 
herb with whitish leaves and roots, the flowers of which we call 
crocusj but whidi the laity call sc^ron. When you see these 
flowers have a certain whiteness at the top of one side* you 


mortariolo fortiter teres, cum urina distemperabis ita ut panis 
cruduB spissum sit, &cies que de ea tortellos quantum grosses 
volueris quoe super duas dolatiles seu laminas ferreas vel la- 
teres coetos pones ut ibi super carbones usque ad dimidium 
diem ardeant. Dein trahe ab igne item que in mortariolo 
pones et multum fortiter usquedum pulvis fiat. Pestabis; 
postea attenuabis per satacium vel per staminiam, transire 
&cias. Iterum dum hoc facies, habebis oUam paratam plenam 
urina et cum tribus yel quatuor vicibus bullire permittes. Postea 
ab igne retrahes et cum ea de urina cruda, medietatem vel mi- 
nus, usque dum tepida fuerit vel fiat similiter misces. Posttuec 
accipies ilium colorem qui folium vocatur et in uno vase pones 
abluesque de ilia mixta urina inter manus tuas firicando, attra- 
hes que in.unam partem et feces urinse projicies foris. Tunc 
accipies ilium suprascriptum cinerem et unam scutellam de eo 
implebis et de folio aliam facies que in illo vase de dnere pul- 
verando unum lettum et unum desuper de folio sic que facies 
usque dum folium et cinis mixta sint. Iterumque inter manus 
tuas fricabis et sic dimittes usque tribus diebus bene coopertum 
juxta ignem ut calefiat. Ipse vero optimus color de se ipso emit- 
tet colorem purpureum super se cum cepit calescere. Si vero 
aliquid tingere volueris pones aquam in sartagine. Si vero tin- 
gere non babes dimittes aquam et folium sic refrigerari ita ut 
possis ex eo parvos tortellos &cere et servare poteris quantum 
volueris et in forulo pone. 

165. De croco et de diversitatibus ejtu. — ^Omnem crocum ad 
pingendum assumere ncm oportet vel ad scribendum. Ilium 
enim qui in hac nostra patria galliae ut in toto Francia crescit 
bonum non esse non nescias. Et quamvis aliquam similitudi- 
nem boni habeat tamen vere colorem nee odorem nee saporem 
ilUus perfecte habet et enim quedam berba albo silis foliis et ra- 
dicibus cujus flores nos crocum laici vero safran vocant. Quos 
flores cum videris gestare quandam candorem ex una parte in 
summittate scias quod non est bonus cum duos digitos saliva 



may know that they are good. When you wet two of yoar 
fingers with saliva, and rub the safiron a little between yow 
fingers, if your fingers immediately become yellow, you miy 
know that the safiron comes from Italy or Spain, and is good ; 
but in Sicily, as a certain Ysidius [Isidorus] says, the best is 
that which is called coriscos ; and a great deal of exceUeat 
safiron comes fi^m thence, very firagrant to the smell, and of a 
colour superior to gold. Some temper this with egg ; odien 
both grind and temper it with egg, or mix it ^th water, and 
strain it through a linen cloth, and then tiiey punt with it 
However, I do none of these things, but only put clear wato- 
into a very clean vase ; I then sprinkle the safiron over it, and, 
after a little while, when I see the water well impregnated widb 
it, I put it on the coals for a short time, leaving tbe saflron in 
it, and then, with a pencil or pen prepared for this purpose, I 
paint upon skins and other things, and upon box-wood, in order 
to colour it yellow, or to redden it, by mixing the saffi-on with 
wine, and then laying it on the box-wood. If you wish to make 
the wood shine, let the safiron dry, and then lay on some mare 
with oil. 

166. That tJtere are three kinds of folium^ and of the way to 
temper the purple folium.^ — ^There are three kinds of folium ; 
one purple, another red, and a third sapphire blue, which yoa 
must temper as follows. Take ashes, and sift them throng a 
cloth, pour cold water over them, make them into cakes like 
loaves of bread, and put them into the fire until they are quite 
white hot. When they have been burnt for a long time, and 
have afterwards cooled, put part of them into an earthen vase, 
and pour urine over, stir them with a stick, and, when they have 
settled clear, pour the liquor on the red folium, and grind it a 
little on a stone, adding to it one-fourth part of quicklime, 
and when it is ground and sufficiently moistened, strain it 
through a cloth, and lay it with a pencil wherever you like, 
first thinly, and afterwards more thickly. And if you wish to 

* This IB a transcript of chap. xxzv. of the first book of Tbeophih 


liimiectabis et florem inter eos paulii}um firicabis et statim crocos 

liabueris inde digitos scias quod ex Italia vel Expania venit et 

bonus est. In Sicilia autem, ut Ysidius ait quidam, melior est 

qui coriscos dicitur, unde crocum plurimum et optimum venit 

Spiramine flagrantius et colore pulchrius auro. Hunc cum ovo 

distemperant, alii etiam cum ovo terunt et distemperant vel 

cum aqua per lineum panniun transire faciunt et sic isti pin- 

gunt Ego vero nichil horum facio sed tantum in mundissimo 

vaflculo claram aquam mitto, Dein crocum desuper spargo et 

post modicum cum videro aquam totam inde confectam super 

carbones paululum simulque crociun permitto et deinde cum 

pincello vel pennula ad id parata in pellibus pingo et alibi et 

super buxum ut croceus fiat vel rubicundior ubi crocus cum 

vino distemperandus est et sic buxo superponendus est quod si 

Yolueris ut ipsum lignum luceat permitte prius crocum siccari, 

Poetea cum oleo eum super ilium pone. 

166. Quod folii tria sunt genera^ et de modo distemperandi 

purpureum. — ^Tria sunt folii genera ; unum purpureum, aliud 

JHf rubeum, tylrcium saphirum que sic temperabis. Telle cineres 

V / et cr^bra eos per pannum ; Ferfondes eos aqua frigida fac inde 

tortulas ad similitudinem panis mittes que ea in igne donee om* 

nino candescant. Postquam diutissime canduerint et postea 

firiguerint mitte partem in vas fictile perfiinde urina, move ligno, 

cum que residerent lucide perfdnde rubeum folium et teres illud 

modice super lapidem addens ei quartam partem vivae calcis, et 

cum tritum fuerit, et sufficienter perfusum cola per pannum et 

trahe cum pincello ubi volueris tenue deinde spissius et si placet 

in similitudinem palii in pagina facere purpureo folio eodem 

temperamento absque calce profuso pinge penna vel pincello. 


represent a robe on the page [of a book], paint it with pmpk 
folium, moistened with the same yehicle, but without lime, with 
a pen or a hair pencil. 

167. Of azure ; haw and with what vehicles it is te mp e r ed. — 
Of the etherial colour, or, to speak in common language, the 
aziu^ or blue colour, I have nothing very certain to aay, as 
some grind and temper it with goat*s milk, others witii wcnnan's 
milk, and others with white of egg ; and either of these is 
sufficiently good. 

168. How azure is prepared and purified. — ^But I shall not 
conceal how I purify it when it comes to my hands. I first 
pour it into a bason, and put a little water along widi it, and 
rub it with my finger until it is thoroughly moistened, and then 
I pour in more water and stir it well, and let it rest When 
it has settled, I pour oS the water, turbid from die imparities, 
into another vase, keeping the precious colour which remains at 
the bottom of the vase, for its nature is such that the finer and 
purer the colour is the heavier it is, and therefore the sooner it 
reaches the bottom ; and the impurities, or the whitish or yel- 
lowish parts, which are lighter, float or remain above it in the 
water. And, if necessary, I repeat this process several tunes, 
pouring water out and in until it is purified ; and when it is 
well purified and ground with water, after I have put it into a 
horn, I pour in very clear whipped white of egg, and paint upoo 
the places in which I wish to paint anything ; and I afterwards 
throw away the same white of egg within the space of one hour, 
for if it remains in it any longer it spoils the colour by depriving 
it of its fine appearance and beauty. And afiier I have thrown 
away the white of egg, I immediately fill the horn with cold 
water and stir up the colour, and wash it with water, throwing 
away the same water afbr an hour, whfle the colour settles 
and sinks to the bottom ; for, as I said, if the egg, or the said 
water impregnated with the said egg by the washing of the 
colour were to remain any longer, the colour would be deterio- 
rated. This colour is used on walls with egg and with water ; 
but on wood it is ground with oil, like other colours. 


167. De (zzurio quomodo diMemperatur et cum qtiibus liqudri'* 
bus, — ^De etherio colore, vel ut juxta vulgare loquar lazurio rel 
perso quid certius dicam vxya habeo qiua alii cum lacte caprino 
alii cum lacte muliexis alii cum glarea ovi molunt ac distem^ 
perant et satis ntrumque bonum est 

168. Quo mado preparetur et purgetur aaurium. — Sed quo 
modo cum admanus meas venerit ilium preparare non tacebo. 
In primis fundo id opus in bacino simulque cum eo, paululum 
aquae mitto, et cum digito, tamdiu frico quousque totus made- 
£actus sit, ac deinde habundancius aquam infundo et bene mis- 
ceo et quiesoere permitto. Poetquam quieverit eamdem aquam 
sic turbatam ex emundicia in alio vase recipio reservaturque co- 
lorem preciosumqui in fundo remanet yasis, nam hujus modi 
naturae est ut quanto pulchrior et purior est tanto ponderosior 
et ideo tanto ad fundum labatur ; et immundicea seu pars albes- 
centia vel croceantis coloris qui nimis gravis est superius natet 
vel maneat et si necesse fiierit id ipsum siepius repeto aquam 
seepe infundendo et effundendo donee pergatus sit £t jambene 
piu*gatum et cum aqua tritum postquam in comu reposuero 
postea loca in quibus inde aliquid facere voluero glaream ovi 
multum clarum immitto et operor. Postea glaream eamdem 
j»*ius unius bore spacium jecturus nam si diutius intus remanse-* 
rit corrumpet colorem illi precipuam speciem et pulchritudinem 
auferendo. Et postquam glaream ejecero statim illud cornu 
aqua frigida repleo et misceo colorem et lavo cum aqua, eandem 
aquam post boram dum color ad fundum quesoendo descendit 
rejecturus. Nam ut dixi si diutius remaneret ovum vel dicta 
aqua, de dicto ovo ex ipsa lavatione coloris infecta color corrum- 
peretiur. Hunc colorem cum aqua et cum ovo in materia ponet 
in ligno vero cum oleo ut tritos colores. 


169. How azure is made} — If you wish to make azure, take 
a new jar that has never been used, and put into it strips cf 
very pure silver, as many as you like, and so cover it up, and 
seal it, and put the jar among the grape-skins, and keep it wdl 
for 14 days and then open the jar, and scrape into a very dean 
vase the efflorescence which you find on the silver, which will 
be a perfect azure, and of a blue colour, provided that d« 
silver contains no alloy or mixture of any other metal, but only 
consists of the purest and finest silver. K it contains any 
brass, you will obtain a colour which is rather green, than bfaie 
or azure. If you afterwards want any more of it, do again as 
before directed. 

170. To make azure not so good \as the Zo^].'— If you wish 
to make another azure, take a jar of very pure copper, and pal 
lime into it until it is half full, and then fill the jar with voy 
strong vinegar, and so cover it up and seal it Then place the 
jar under ground, if it is in winter, that it may be warm there, 
or among the grape-skins, or in hot horse-dung, or in any other 
hot place, and so leave it for one month. Afterwards, open the 
jar, and scrape off what you find upon it, and put it in the sun 
to dry. This azure is not so good as the last, but it is uaefiil 
for wood or walls. 

171. Also of another way of making blue with the juice qfbbte 
Jlou)ers. — ^If you wish to make a third kind of azure, take blue 

flowers, that is, of an azure colour, and grind them, and press 
out the juice, straining it through a cloth into a very clean vase. 
And you must first make the ground of your work, whether on 
wood or on parchment, with white lead, which is called ceruse, 
^ and put over it three or four, or five coats of this expressed 
blue juice or colour, and repeat this until you find the colour 
appears like aziu-e, letting it dry each time you lay it on, before 
you apply a fresh coat. 

^ This recipe is in the Appendix to the MS. of Theophilus in the British 
Museum, and in the Mappse Clavicula, p. 7. 
2 This recipe and the next are also in the Mappee Clavicula, p. 7. 


169. — De CLzurio quo modo effwitur. — Si vis facere azurrium 
optimum accipe ollam novam que nunquam in opus fiierit et 
mitte in eas laminas purissimi argenti quantas vis et sic cooperi 
earn et sigiUa et mitte ipeam ollam in vindemia et serva bene 
usque ad quindeeim dies et sic aperies illam ollam et ilium 
florem qui erit in circuitu laminarum argentearum excudes in 
mundissimb vase. Quod perfectum azurium erit et celestini 
Goloris dum tamen argeutum laminarum mullum alligamentum 
vel mixturam alterius cujus que metalli in se continuerit pre- 
terquam purissimum ac finissimum argentum. Quid si in se 
aliquid eris continuerit viridatis potius quam celestis vel azurii 
colorem obtinebis et si postea amplius volueris habere, iterum 
&c ut superscriptum est 

170. De azurio alio nan tarn bono faciendo. — De alio azurio 
si vis facere, accipe ampullam purissimi cupri, et mitte in earn 
calcem usque ad medium, et sic imple ampulam fortissimo 
aceto et ita cooperi et sigilla. Et tunc mitte ipsam ampulam 
in profundo terrse si erit in hyeme ut ibi calidum sit aut in 
vindemia aut in fimo equimo calido, aut in alio calido loco, et 
ita dimitte usque ad unum mensem et postea aperies ampulam 
et ex ea rade quod in ipsa inveneris et mittes ad solem siccare. 
Illud azureum non est ita bonum sicut aliud, tamen valet ad 
lignum vel materiam. 

171. Item aliter modofiendo azurio cam succo florum fersa- 
rum, — ^Tertium azurium ei vis facere, accipe flores blauos id 
est celestini coloris et teres et exprime colando per telam in 
mundissimo vase et fac prius campum tui operis sit in ligno vel 
sit in pergameno, De albo plumbo quod cerusa dicitur et mitte 
desuper tries aut quatuor aut quinque lectos de ipso succo sen 
colore blauo expresso, et tantum ita fac usque quo videas ipsum 
colorem similem esse azurio permittendo qualibet vice quam 
posueris inccare antequam reponas. 



1 72. HcfiD to make a bloA colour in variotu manners. — E^erj 
black colour which is used in pamting on skins, we know to be 
atramentum, distempered in various manners^ except that with 
whidi we stun the skin, which is commonly called earduoMmm 
(cordovan). But that black colour is made of oil and acales of 
iron, boiled together for a very long time, and it is laid an Ifae 
skin^ not with a pen or a brush, but with a very sharp piece of 
wood, namely boxwood. But on walls, or on wood, we tike diar* 
coal, made of leather, or of hay, or of wood of any kind, excqit 
oak, which, on account of its hardness, can scarcely ever be suffi- 
ciently ground. If you wish to lay black over other coloan 
on parchment, you must not put incaustum, but know that you 
must take charcoal distempered with egg, and the same on 
walls either with water or with egg, and on wood with (m1 ; and 
whoever takes the soot of rushes and oil, where they are burnt 
together over a lamp, and calcines it in a jar upon ooala, and 
grinds it with water or with e^, or with oil, will find it a very 
excellent colour wherever he wants it 

173* Abo qf another mode of making blacL----Take the bark 
of the wood which is called ehn, and cut it into small jneces, 
and put it into a vessel to Ixnl wilh water; and take the 
rust which is at the bottom of the water under a workman's 
grindstone, and mix it with the said bark, in order that they 
may boil over the fire together ; and add to them atramentom 
distempered with the aforesaid water of the bark. Afterwardii 
if you wish to dye anything, put it in while the water Ixnli, 
and so leave it irom morning until the third hour of the day 
{ue. from 6 to 9 a.]l), until it is diminished to a third of the 
quantity. And if what was put into it is not well dyed, put it 
in again, and add a little atramentum, in order that that whidi 
is put into the composition may be better dyed. 

174. To make vermilion? — J£ you wish to make very good 
vermilion, take a glass flask, and lute it outside. Hien take 
one part by weight of quicksilver, and two parts of sulphur of a 

^ This recipe is also in the Clavicula. 


172. De nigro colore quomodojU diversi mode. — Onme atrum 
colorem unde pingitur in pellibus scimus attramentum esae 
▼aiiifl modis distemperattim praeter ilium de quo tangimus 
illam pellem, quam vulgus corduanum vocat Slud autem 
nigrum ex olio paleaque ferri diutifisime simul coctis fit et in 
eadem pelle non cum penna nee cum pincello sed cum ligno 
acutiagimo Bcilicet buxeo pingitur. In parietibus vero vel in 
lignis assumimus carbones scilicet de lignis cujus libet generis, 
vel de corio yel de feno fectos praeter querqueos que yix un- 
quam pro eorum duritie sufiienter teri possunt Sed si in per- 
gamenis supra ceteros colores ponere volueris nigrum non 
pones incaustum sed scias quod carbones cum ovo distemperatos 
assumes, in materiis similiter, vel cum aqua, tel cum ovo, et in 
lignis cum oleo. Fuli^e quoque junci et olei ubi simul in 
lampade ardent qui ceperit si in testa super carbones torruerit 
et cum aqua vel cum ovo vel oleo triverit valde optimum colo- 
rem ubique voluerit comprobabit 

173. Itemy alio modo de nigro faciendo. — ^Accipe corticem 
ligni quod elna vocatur et per particulas inddes mittes que in 
sartaginem i.e. patellam cum aqua bullire. Accipies que fer- 
ruginem que est in fundo cum aqua subtus in oUam fabri. £t 
mitte cum dicto cortice ut simul ad ignem bulliat ponesque 
cum eis attramentum de ilia supradicta aqua dicti corticis ligni 
distemperatum. Postea in volueris aliquid tingere mittes intus 
dum aqua bullierit et sic id dimittcs a mane usque ad terciam. 
£t si bene tinctum non fuerit, quod intus positum itierit, iterum 
intus reponatur adjiciatur que parumpcr de attramento ut me-> 
lius tingatur id quod in compositione mittetur. 

174. De vermicuhfaciendo. — IS vis facere vermiculum opti- 
mum accipe ampulam vitream et lini de foris luto. £t sic 
accipe unum pondus argenti vivi et duo pondera sulphuris albi 



white or yellow colour, and put them into the aforesaid flasks 
which you must afterwards place upon four stones, and make a 
very slow fire of charcoal piled round the flask, and ooFer iq» 
the mouth of the flask with a tile ; and when you see a blue 
vapour come out of the mouth of the flask, cover it up ; axid if 
a yellow vapour comes out, cover it up also. But when there 
comes out a vapour nearly as red as vermilion, flien take it 
away from the fire, and you will have excellent vermilioo in 
the flask. 

175. Another way of makinff vermilion, — ^Take a glass jar, 
and quicksilver and sulphur, and weigh them, so that two parts 
may be of sulphur, and the third of quicksilver, and fill the 
flask with them up to the neck. But first cover the flask with 
three coats of very good clay, then put in the aforesaid articles, 
so that the sulphur may be underneath, and the quicksilver 
above, and put red tile, well pounded, from the neck to the top 
of it, and place it upon three stones over a charcoal fire, and 
let it bum until a blue vapour comes off, and then it will 

176. How to make minium^ otherwise called sandaraca. — ^If 
I am not mistaken, minium, that is sandaraca, aad white lead, 
that is ceruse, are of one nature. If you put ceruse into the 
fire it takes a new name, and colour, and strength ; because, 
the more it is burnt the redder it is, and the less it is burnt 
the more it retains its former colour, that is, its whiteness or its 
paleness ; and in laying it upon walls, it is ground with gum* 
water, but never with egg. It can, however, be laid upon 
parchment, distempered with egg ; but on wood, with oil. 

177. How minium is mixed with vermilion. — If any one 
wishes to illuminate a manuscript he must not do that witli 
minium only, because, although the letters may be well formed 
yet they would not be beautiful, for they would be too pale ; he 
must therefore mix minium with vermilion, that the colour 
may be brighter. But as I have certainly known some persms 
who are ignorant about this mixture, not knowing how much to 
put of one sort, or how much of the other, if they will ^ve their 


aiit crocei ooloris, et mitte in ampulam suprascriptam quam 
postea pones super quatuor petras et ignem lentissimum de 
carbonibus in circuitu ampullae positis facias cooperto ore am- 
pullae tegula et quando yideris ftimum ex ore ampulse exire 
blauum, cooperi ; si yero fiunus crocei colons, iterum cooperi ; 
quando autem exierit fumus rubeus quasi ut est vermiculum, 
sic telle ab igne et habebis vermiculum optimum in ipsa am- 

175. Alio modo ad faciendum vermiculum, — ^Accipe ampul- 
lam yitream et yiyum argentum et sulphur, et libra ita ut duse 
partes sint de sulphure et tertia de argento yiyo, et intus pone 
ut yeniat usque collum ampullae et primitus lini ampulam de 
argilla optima tribus yicibus et intus pone supradictas partes, 
ita ut sulfiiris pars subtus sit bene diminuta et argenti yiyi pars 
supersit et rubeam tegulam bene diminutam a coUo usque ad 
summum mitte et super tres lapides ampulam in igne de car- 
bonibus et dimitte combuere donee ignis inde exeat glaucus et 
tunc satis est. 

176. De miniofaciendo aliter sandaraco dido. — =Nisi fallor mi- 
nium id est sandaracum et album plumbum id est cerusa unius 
naturae sunt, si in ignem mittas cerusam, nomen et colorem et 
fortitudinem accipit quia quanto plus ustum fiierit plus rubet, 
et quo minus ustum plus pristinum colorem retinet, id est albo- 
rem yel pallorem et ponendo ipsum in materiis teritur cum 
aqua gummata numquam yero cum oyo. In pergamenis yero 
poni potest cum oyo distemperatum, sed in lignis cum oleo. 

177. Qttomodo misceatur minium cum vermiculo. — Si quis 
codicem illuminare satagit non id de sole minio debet facere 
quia quamyis litterae forent bene formate pulchre tamen non 
essent quia nimio pallore essent obfuscate, ideo minium cum 
yermiculo misceat ut pulchriores sint. Verum tamen quia 
aliquos de hac commixtione noyi certe, nescientes quantum ex 
Uno nee quantum ex altero mittere deberent si mihi assint ani- 
mo de hoc intimabo, quod mihi notum est, ut teneani Si ipsum 


attention to me I will teach them all that islmown to me, tbat 
they may remember it If the vermilion is very good and new, 
I put two parts of it, and scarcely the third part of mimwaR 
But if the minium is dusky and very old, pat a half or a third 
part of the vermilion, and make the remainder of miniinp ; ami 
you must know, that the older the vermilion is by nature, the 
darker and the less useful it is ; and the darker it is, the less of 
it must be added to the minium. When you have ground 
this minium thus cautiously mixed with vermilion well in dear 
water, if you wish to write with it immediately, allow it to dry 
completely, and then distemper the same with stale white of egg, 
namely, three or four days old. And if you wish to write or 
paint with this minium, which will shine with a sort of rarm^ 
brilliancy, you must mix but a little clear water, or nothing at 
all, with the above-mentioned white of egg, with whidi yon dis- 
temper the minium ; and then lay it sufficiently thickly on the 
parchment while you are writing, that is to say, you must paint 
the letter thick ; and if^ after this, it should happen that the wcsk 
does not shine, you may know that this is to be imputed to the 
quality of the air, or the weather, if it be damp. And you must 
know this also, that if it is dried at the fire, it will undoubtedly 
shine ; but it will turn black in the sun. The minium may be 
either fresh or have been prepared for some time. 

178. How minium is to be washed, — ^But if, when you are 
illuminating any book, the minium is old. and of a dirty colour, 
you must wash it thus. Take water and wine, so that the third 
or the fourth part may be of wine, and put it mto a horn with 
the minium, and mix it well, stirring it Afterwards let it 
rest When it has settled and is fisJlen to the bottom, throw 
out the water and the wine, and pour in a suffident quantity of 
white of egg, and use it 

179. Ofsinapis. — Sinopis, as I have heard, is a certain colour 
redder than vermilion, so that when the vermilion itself is very 
precious on account of its beauty, the heralds praising it call it 
ranopis, although the vermilion only resembles it on account of 
its redness. 


vermicaltim valde optimum et novum fuerit duas partes ex illo 
et yix tertiam partem ex minio. Si vero minium fuscum et 
▼etufiaimum fuerit dimediam seu tertiam partem ex iUo Termi- 
culo mitte et reliquas de minio £sLcito. Et sciendum est quod 
Termiculum natura quanto vetustior tanto nigrior et minus utilis 
etquantonigrior est tanto minus de iUo mittendum est in minio. 
Quod minium sic ex vermiculo caute mixtium postquam bene 
triveris cum aqua clara. Si statim ex inde scribere volueris 
permitie penitus prius exsiccare deinde cum vetusta glarea ovi 
trium scilicet aut quatuor dierum ipsum idem distempera. Et si 
tibi accidat scripturam vel picturam ex eodem minio facere velle 
quasi que vemiciata nitore suUuceat glarea suprascriptae qua 
ipsum minium distemperas parum aquae clars vel nil omnino 
commisoeas et exinde inter scribendum sufficienter pergameno 
suppone crassam scilicet litteram debes facere. Sane si post boc 
opus ipsum nonlupereoontingeritnoverisbocimputandumquali- 
tali Tel aurse yel tempori si humidum sit. Hoc autem scire debes 
quod si ad ignem exsiccetur procul dubio yenitescet. Sole vero 
fuflcabitur minium potest esse vel noviter vel ex multo tempore 
paratum sit.' 

178. Quanwdo lavatur minium. — iS autem cum aliquem 
libmm illuminas minium vetus sit et turpis colons. Debes ita 
lavari. Sume aquam et vinum, et ita ut tertia rel quarta pars 
sit vinum et mitte in comu cum minio et commove bene mis- 
oend9. Postea permitte quiescere. Cum autem sedatum et ad 
fundum deductum erit eice aquam et vinum et mitte glaream 
quantum opus sit et operetur. 

179. De sinopide. — Sinopis est quidam color magis mbeus 
ut didici quam vermiculum. Undo et ipsum vermiculum sit 
valde preciosum in pulchritudine fuerit quasi laudando scutarii 
sinopidem vocant cum tantum modo vermiculum in rubeo te- 
neat ejus similitudinem. 



180. How the colour olchusy otherwise membrana^ is made, — 
The colour olchus, otherwise membrana, is so called firom hs 
appearing like the humaa flesh on the fisu^ the hands, and tlie 
other parts of the body. It is made of red or vennilkm. and 
white or ceruse, and he who has no yermilion, must malce it of 
minium and white mixed together in proper proportions of eaeh, 
according to the greater or less ruddiness, or paleness^ or white- 
ness, which he wishes to give to the naked figure, in painting it. 
And because a greenish colour is proper for it, mix a little green 
with it, in proper proportion as you may think proper. And if 
you have no green, mix orpiment with lazur, and yon wiD 
have a green which you may use. Others also collect the 
flowers of a certain herb, the name of which has escaped me, 
which they grind or mix with the olchus, and thus make tiie 

181. How lake is made. — ^Take filings or scrapings of Brazil 
wood, and let them boil over the fire in a clean vase with red 
wine. Then add lake distempered with urine, and let them 
boil together, and having done this, strain and squeeze tliem. 
Then take alum and mix with the other ingredients in the vase 
over the fire, and stir it a little. Then remove it firom the fire, 
and pour the contents into a basin. Then grind it weU upon 
a stone, and collect the lake together and let it dry in the sun. 
Afterwards preserve it in a box. 

182. Item. — How to make sinopis de mellana. — ^If you wish 
to make sinopis de mellana, take lac, that is, the gum of ivy, 
with which parcium is dyed, and grind it very fine, and temper 
it with vinegar or urine. Then, adding wheat flour well cleansed 
from the bran, make it into little cakes, and bake it in an un* 
glazed jar ; and, while it is being baked, put a littie of it upon 
a stick with a twig, until you see that it is of a very good colour. 
If you wish to have it very red, bake it but little ; if less red, 
bake it more. 

183. As before. — To make the same sinopis in a different man- 
ner. — If you wish to make excellent sinopis, take lac, iliat is, 
the gum of ivy, and madder, and boil it for a short time in a 


180. Quomodo componitur olckus color seu membrana. — 01- 
cbus color aliter membrana vocatur qui sicuti humana caro in 
facie in manibus et aliis partibus et membris corporis demon- 
stratur. Componitur ex rubeo seu vermiculo et albo seu ce- 
nisa. £t qui non haberet vermiculum componeret ex minio 
et albo simul ad proportionatas quantitates utriusque ipsorum 
juxta majorem vel minorem rubedinem vel palliditatem, vel 
albedinem quam dare voluerit nudo ymagini pingens ipsam. 
Et quia virideus color in ipso convenit aliquantulum viridis per 
debitam portionem sicut placuerit. Et si viride non habetur 
auripigmentum cum lazurio misceat et yiride habebit quo uti 
poterit alii colligunt colligunt (sic) etiam cujusdem herbe flores 
cujus nomen excidit quos cum olcho terunt seu miscent et colo- 
rem inde facit. 

181. Quomodo effidtur lacha, — ^Accipe Brasilis ligni lima- 
turam vel rasuram, et in uno vase mundo cum vino rubeo per- 
mitte ad ignem bullire. Deinde lacham cum urina distemper- 
atam cum ea pone et simul bulliant et hoc facto colantur et 
exprimantur. Postea alumen accipe et misce cum eis in vase 
ad ignem existente et move parumper. Tunc ab igne telle et 
in scutella mitte. Deinde super petram fortiter tere et collige 
et ad solem siccare permitte. Postea ad servandum in forulo vel 
pixide pone. 

182. Item de faciendo sinopide de mellana. — Si vis facere 
sinopidem de mellana. Accipe de lacca id est gumma ederae 
de qua parcium tingitur et optime tere et distempera cum aceto 
vel urina. Deinde farinam triticeam bene a furfure mundatam 
adjungens, fac quasi pastidas et coque in olla rudi et frequenter 
cum coquetur ex eo cum festuca super virgulam tuam pone, 
donee videas optimi chloris esse et si multum rubeum volueris 
minus coque si minus rubeum magis coque. 

183. Sicut supra de eodem synopide aliter faciendo. — Si vis 
facere optimum sinopidem, accipe laccam id est gummam edcras 
et Waranciam et coque in ollam aliquantulum cum aqua postea 

VOL. I. L 



jar with water, and afterwards take it out of the jaj% and let it 
cool a little. Then grind it well in a mortar, and strain h 
through a doth, squeezing [it well out, and afterwards beat k 
oarefuUy in a basin or saucer, taking care not to let it boil, let 
only simmer. And while it is on the fire put it firequently vilk 
a twig upon your rod to try it ; if it is thick enou^, remore i 
from the fire, and let it cool and harden, so that yoa may be able 
to make it into cakes. Haying made it into cakes, cut it up, aod 
put it into a small hole, and keep it for use. 

184. Of lake. — In the month of March, cut branches cfifj 
crosswise in various places, or pierce them with a bodkin, aod 
there will exude a liquid, which you must collect every tfnrd 
day. This is boiled with urine, and turns to a blood colour, 
which is also called lacha, with which the skins, conunonly caUed 
parcie, are dyed with alum. The above-mentioned liquid k 
useful for many purposes. 

185. Of writing y orpaijUing^ with tin. — ^When you are going 
to make gold or silver writing or painting, if you have neither 
of them, that is to say, neither gold nor silver, you must make 
use of the following process. Cast very pure tin into strips of 
half a foot or little more in length, namely, like those of which 
glass windows are made. Then scrape with a knife one or 
more of them, as many as you like, into very small pieces, 
until they, or it, are, or is, entirely scraped away ; and then put 
the shavings into a mortar made of very hard metal, namely, of 
that of which bells are made, which must be prepared tor this 
purpose, and fixed in a plank. You must also have a mulleror 
pestle of the same metal, which must revolve in the mortar. 
Afterwards put these clippings into the mortar, and pour water 
upon them, and grind them by pulling a thong backwards aod 
forwards ; but when the muller begins to stick a little, so that 
it will not turn, take it out, and pour or tip out the water aod 
tin into a very clean vase ; and then, letting the tin remain in 
the vase, pour the water cautiously off, without pouring away 
the tin. Aft;erwards let the tin dry by the fire or in the sun. 
Then put it on a very thick linen cloth, and make the fine parts 


extrahes ab olla et aliquantulum refrigerari permitte. Deinde 
in mortariolo fortiter tere et per pannum extorquendo cola, et 
postea in bacina vel in testa coque cum diligentia cavens ne 
bulliat sed tantum fremat. £t dum coquitur frequenter cum 
festuca super virgulam tuam pone temptando ; si satis spissum 
ab igne tolle et permitte frigescere et durescere. Itaque inde 
possis pastilles facere. £t factis pastillis excisea et pone in 
forulo et serva usui. 

184. De lacca. — Mense Marcio ramas in diversis locis incide 
de edera extransverso vel cum aculeo perfora et egredietur 
liquor quem de tertio in tercium diem collige qui cum urina 
coquitur et in sanguineum colorem vertetur, qui et lacha di- 
citur ex quapelles alutine tingentur que vulgo parcie dicuntur* 
Liquor superdictum ad multa valet. 

185. De stamtea scriptura vel pictura. — Auream seu argen- 
team scripturam vel picturam facturus, si neutrum habeas, 
scilicet nee aurum necargentum hacutere compositura. Stan- 
num purissimum funde in laminas quas dimidii pedis vel paulo 
plus longitudinis fac ad instar scilicet earum ex quibus fenestra 
vitree componuntur. Deinde unam earum vel plures quot vis 
cum cultello vel quo instrumento necesse fuerit minuta.tum 
erade vel errade quo ad usque tota consumpta vel consumptae 
siut. £t deinceps ipsas encisuras in mortariolo pone quod de 
metallo durissimo sit, quo scilicet campanae fiunt ad hoc opus 
parato et in ligno infixo. Habeas simulque molam seu pistil- 
lam qui in mortariolo vertitur, de eodem metallo. Postea in 
ipso mortario pone ipsas incisuras. Et super ipsas infunde 
aquam et sic eas mole trahendo corrigiam et retrahendo seu 
relaxendo. Ubi autem mola stare ceperit paululum nee jam 
posse verti extrabe illam et aquam et stannum in mundissimo 
vase rejecta vel reversa. Et ipsum stannum retinendo in ipso 
vase eice caute aquam absque ejiciendo stannum. Et postea 
permitte ipsum stannum siccari ad ignem vel ad solem. Deinde 
panno liueo valde spisso indue ac fac transire subtilcs minucias ; 



pass through ; but the coarser parts, which mH not pass tfanvQ^ 
the cloth, put back into the mortar, and grind as you did before : 
and you must always make the finer parts pass throng a d<rtli 
as before, and then put them with the other similar parts ; and 
so, when you have reduced the tin to a very clean powder, draw 
upon the parchment and upon the cloth flowers and images, and 
whatever else you like. And in pamting you must put gloe 
upon the places which you wish to gild or silver, with a brash 
of ass's hair, which glue you must thus make from ox-skim : — 
186. How to make glue from the skin of an ox or a cow. — 
Take the skin of an ox or a cow, as thick as you can find it, 
which has already been tanned for shoes, and pat it in a jar 
and pour water upon it, and make it boil over the fire from 
daybreak on a summer's day until nearly the third hoar of the 
day, pouring water into it when necessary, or, when it is mudi 
diminished, pour off the water, which has boiled so long, and 
pour in clean water, and make it boil again untU the sixth 
hour. Then pour off this water, which will be nearly all eva- 
porated,, and again pour clean water into the jar over the same 
leather, and do not renew it more than once or twice more. 
And take great care not to let it boil over, and then, having 
boiled it down to one-third, pour it into a vase, and leave it to 
coqI all that day and night. In the morning of the next day 
if it is coagulated in the vase, put your finger upon it If any 
part of it remains sticking to your finger, you may know that it 
is not good, and may throw it away as refuse. Afterwards fill 
up the jar with water as before, in order to boil it with the 
leather ; and you must not fill it up any more, but take all 
possible care not to let it boil over. You will know when it is 
good by (after you have boiled it sufficiently and let it cool) 
putting your finger upon it as before, to see whether it is hard ; 
and the harder you find it, the better you may know it to be. 
Afterwards putting a small portion of it into an earthen vase, 
set it on the coals and make it rather warm. Then, removing 
the vase from the fire, keep it at a moderate heat over a slow 
fire made of a few pieces of charcoal, lest it should be con* 


grossiores vero quse per pannum tracsire non poterant iterum 
in ipso mortario mitte et moUe sicut antea feceras. £t semper 
minuliorem partem per pannum transire facias sicut dictum est 
et repone cum similibus minutiis et sic postquam in mundissi- 
mum pulverem redegeris s^nnum protrahe super pergamenum 
et super pannum flores et imagines et quodcumque opus volu- 
eris. £t in ipso opere per loca que de aurare vel argenteare 
voles, pones viscum cum pincello asinino quod viscum sic facies 
de corio bovis. 

186. Q^omodo viscum vel gluten fit de corio bovis vel 
vacccB. — Corium bovis vel vaccse quod spissius invenire poteris 
jam ad calcimaenta instinctum mitte in ollam simul que aquam 
et a primo deluculo usque ad horam pene tertiam temporis 
eestatis fervere fac ad ignem, aquam infundendo cum opus erit 
vel cum comminuta fuerit. Postea projicies ipsarum aquam 
que tandiu fervuerit et infiindas claram aquam et iterum fer- 
vere facies usque ad horam sextam. Postea ipsam aquam 
pene consumptum projice atque iterum in oUa cum corio eodem 
aquam claram mitte nee augeas plusquam semel aut bis sed 
diligenter observa ne ex inundando exiliat tunc usque ad ter* 
tiam partem coctam ipsam in vase recipe et relrigerari per- 
mitte tota die ilia et nocte. Mane die altera si coagulatur 
invanis digitum suppone. Si digito aliqua pars adhaerens reman- 
serit, scias non esse bonam et projice illud velut stercora. 
Post hoc iterum aqua ollam implebis similiter ut cum eodem 
corio excoquatur, nee augebis amplius sed cum qua possis 
diligencia custodi ne exiliat sciens quod bona erit si digitum, 
postquam sufficienter bullierit et frigidari permiseris, suppo- 
sueris ut supra et durum inveneris, etquanto duriorem senseris 
tanto meliorem esse scias. Postea sic aliquam partem de ea 
samptam in testeo vasculo pone eo super carbones aliquan- 
tulum fac fervere. Ex igne autem in vasculum quem ad 
levem ignem paucorum carbonum ad moderatam caliditatem 
tunc ne congelitur pincellum minimum ad hoc paratum ea 
intinge et super pergamenum et super pannum quidquid pro- 
trahendo vel de protractis volueris fac et linias atque statim ut 


gealed, and dip into it a very small paintrbrush made fisr Ab 
purpose, and draw on the parchment or canvas wbaterer job 
like, or fill in any former drawings ; and as soon as yon have 
drawn your paint-brush over a few places, before the glue s 
congealed, quickly, and without delay, in order that the tia 
may adhere before the glue dries, sprinkle plenty of the pov* 
dered tin over it, so that none whatever of those parts, whSA 
you spread over with the paint-brush full of glue or cement, 
may remain bare, or not covered with the powdered tin. And 
so go on by degrees with the remaining parts of the work, 
until you have completely filled in all that you intended to 
colour with it. Lastly, collect and put by the superfluous powder 
of the tin which is lying scattered about here and there on die 
paper, not adhering to the work, and leave your work until the 
next day to dry, 

188. Haw to know good tin} — ^Good tin is known as follow 
Put a plate of tin to your ear, and bend it to and ito several 
times with both hands, as if you wished to know whether it was 
broken, and if it rings, that is, creaks or crackles, it is good* 
Also, if you cut a strip firom the plate with a knife, and do not 
entirely separate it, but bend it to and fro six or seven times, as 
if you were going to break it ofi^, and if it does not break, you 
will by that means prove the said tin to be very good. 

189. How to make ink*-^If you wish to make ink, yon 
must take, they say, the bark of blackthorn, and when you 
have torn it off clean from the wood, you must fill a vase 
with it, mixed also with plenty of water, which must not be re- 
newed, and put it on the fire, and let the bark boil down over 
the fire like beef, and then take it out, and squeeze out of it 
the water which it has soaked up, and let the water boil quickly 
over the fire till it is reduced to one-half. Afterwards, pour 
it into the first vase, and let it boil still, and when it is re* 
duced, pour it back into the other vase, and make it boil away. 

1 No. 187 is missing in the original. 

2 The word atramentum is written in the margin of this chapter in the ' 


aliquantulum in aliquibus locis pincellum traxeris priusque 
congeletur glatem cito non tardando ut staimuin tenere possit 
et antequam siccetur, habundanter stannum pulTerisatum super 
spargaa et ita ut nil omnino de his quae cum pincello de ipso 
visco yel glutine linieris vacuum remaneat quin stanno pul- 
verizato cooperiatur. Deinde sic fac paulatim procedendo ad 
reliquas partes operis usquequo intoto compleveris quod per- 
ficere ex eo decreverit. Demum stanni pulverem quod super 
habundaverit et hac illuc dispersum erit non adherens operi, 
colligas et recipe et opus tuum usque in crastinum siccari 

188. De cognitiom boni stanni. — Sic autem bonum stannum 
cognoscitur. Accipe lamina stanni juxta aurem tuam et cum 
utraque manu plices sepius illam quasi qui yelis scire an facta sit 
et osculta diligenter et si tinuit id est stridet vel crisnat bonum 
esty et si de lamina cum cultello crispam sceveris nee tamen 
omnino abrumperis sed quasi qui velis earn frangere, sexcies 
vel septies plicueris et sine fractura remanserit optimum fore 
dictum stannum isto modo comprobaverit 

189. De incausto quo modo effieitur. — Quisquis igitur in-> 
caustum confioere voluerit sumens ut aiunt corticem nigr» 
spinas quam cum de ligDO ad purum evulserit impleat inde vas 
mixta pariter habundantissime et semel tantum cum aqua qua 
imposita igni sinat corticem dequoqui more carnis vaccinae eo 
que extracto extorqueat ab eoquam ebiberat aquam et ipsam 
aquam igni prestolatur excoqui ad medietatem. Postea ipsam 
transfundat in vas primus et adbuc bullire permittat et cum 
comminuta Aierit refundat in aliud vas et ebuUire faciat. £t 
cum ad ultimum iterum comminuta erit evacuet in minimo 



And when lastly it is again reduced, empty it into a very 
vase, and make it boil away. And when the ink bas become 
thick like porridge, take it off the fire, because it is sufficieDtly 
boiled. But when you wish to prepare it for writing', take 
some part of it, and put it into an earthen yessel with doaUe 
the quantity of wine, and take great care, when it begins to 
get hot, to throw away the impurities which sink to the bottom, 
separating them from the ink by straining through a cdoth. 
But what cannot be omitted is, that care must be taken not to 
let it run over the edge of the vase, for otherwise you will lose 
a great part of your labour. But when, as I had b^on to say, 
it is still hot, mix up with it two pieces of burnt atramentam, 
and after four days or a week you will be able to write with it 
And if the ink should remain pale, or soak the parchm^it like 
water, put it on the fire again, mixing with it a little incaustum 
and atramentum. But do not throw it away while it is still 
hot, for it is atramentum. 

190. How to lay gold on a toall, or on parchments. — ^If you 
wish to lay gold on a wall, or on paper, or on wood, or upon a 
block of marble, grind gypsum by itself separately. Hieii 
grind brown separately in the same manner, and take three 
parts of gypsum and one of brown, and take glue made from 
parchment or leather, and distemper them together, mixing 
the said parts, and lay upon it [the object to be gilded] 
one coat of this mixture with a paint-brush, and then ano- 
ther ; and so lay three or four coats. And when the last 
is dry, scrape it with a knife or other iron instrument fitted 
for the purpose, so that it may be very smooth; and then 
burnish it with a tooth or a stone, and lay over it, with the 
paint-brush, only one very thin coat of the gypsum, and let it 
dry. When it is dry, lay the gold upon that mordant, as you 
have been taught. Afterwards lay upon the gold a very fine 
cloth that has been two or three times warmed ; or apply it as 
I do, not so warm, in order that the gold may be the better 

191. Also how to lay on gold. — ^Take gypsum and grind it 


vase et ebullire faciat. Cum que ipsum incaustum iu modum 
pultium densatum fuerit extrahat illud ab igne, quia ad ple- 
num est decoctum, cum vero ad scribendum volueris aptare 
tolles ab eo aliquam portionem pones in vas fictile, duplum que 
vini, solicitate que procaveat ut cum ceperit fervere sordes in 
fundo immefgentes rejiciat separando eas ab incausto colando 
ipsum per telam. Hoc vero quod pone preteriri poterit ob- 
servet ne vel tunc vel quando confectatur in caloris ora vasis 
transeat. Alioquin magna parte quassabitur suo labore. Cum 
vero ut dicere ceperam ad hue calet attramenti duo frustra 
cremata commisceat quatuor que diebus vel ebdomada exacta 
inde scribere poterit. Et si in pallore perduraverit vel perga- 
menum transient more aque appone iterum igni miscendo 
aliquantulum incausti et attramenti sed tunc cum ad hue efier- 
fuerit non abiciat quod attramentum est. 

190. Quomodo in muro vel in pergameno ponitur aurum. — Si 

vis aurum ponere in muro vel in carta vel in ligno vel super 

petra marmorea, tere fortiter gypsum per se separatim. 

Deinde brunum similiter teris separatim facies que de gypso 

tres partes et quatuor de bruno. Accipies que colam de per- 

gamenis vel de corio factum et distemperes simul, miscendo 

illas supradictas partes, facies que de ipsa mixtura unum 

lectum de super cum pincello et ad hue de super alium. £t 

sic facies tres vel quatuor linitiones : cum vero siccum fuerit 

rades cultello vel alio ferro ad hoc parato ita quod sit bene 

adequatum deinde bumias dente vel petra et cum pincello de 

super tantum una vice trahe de ipso gypso postea siccabitur. 

Postquam siccatum fuerit pones de super ea distemperatura 

tua aurum sicut doctus es. Postea pannum delicatissimum 

super aurum duabus vel tribus vicibus calefactam pones, vel 

sicut ego facio minus cale&ctum, ad modum vel melius polia- 

tur, super eum pone. 

191. Item de ponendo auro, — Accipe gypsum et mola eum 




well with water. Then take your glue which is made of haH- 
akin and mix with it a little white of egg, and distemper the 
gypsum. But when you wish to lay on the gold, corer the 
place with gypsum with a paint-brush, and let it dry. Do 
this three times. Then scrape it, that it may be smootli, and 
burnish it, and again lay another coat of the glu6 or mordaiit 
upon it, and then your gold upon that, and remove the dirt 
gently with cotton, and then let it dry. But if you widi to 
polish it, do so with haematite, or with a dog's-tooth. 

192. Aho haw to lay on gold. — ^Take brasilium, newly dis- 
tempered with white of egg, well whipped with a sponge or 
otherwise, and draw and paint with it whatever yoa like oa 
vellum or on any other thing you wish to ^Id, and immedi- 
ately lay the gold upon it, and remove the dirt with eotton, 
scarcely touching it, and leave it to dry for half a day or a 
whole day if you like. Then take a dog's-tooth, and begin to 
burnish at first gently, lest you should spoil it all, and then 
harder, and afterwards so hard that your forehead is wet with 
perspiration. And if you wish to lay gold on parchment made 
of sheep's-skin, add a little plum-tree gum, otherwise gum 
arable, which is excellent for working on any kind of paidi- 
ment, namely, from calf-skin, sheep-skin, and goat-skin, as we 
shall declare in the following [recipe]. And either kind of 
gum must be distempered as follows : — 

193. T/ie mode of tempering the gums for laying on gold. — 
Take whichever of these gums you like, and tie it up in a very 
clean linen cloth, and put it in a glass vase, and let it lie in 
water for a whole day and night, although indeed, if you want 
to make haste, you may stir up the water with your finger. 
Then draw whatever you like on the parchment, and lay the 
gold on it as before mentioned. 

1 94. Of the precautions required in gilding. — But take notioe 
that you ought to work in gold and colours in a damp place 
on account of the hot weather, which, as it is often injurious in 
burnishing gold, both to the colours on which the gold is laid 
and in [the operation] of gilding, if the work is done on parch- 


fortiter cum aqua. Delude accipe gluteu tuum quod 6t de 
taurino piuguedine et niisce cum eo parumper de glarea ovi, 
et distempera gypsum. Ubi vero aurum ponere volueris ibi 
cum pincello de gypeo trahes, dimittes que siccare. Hsec facies 
tiibus vicibus ; postea raddes eum ut sit planum et bumies ; 
iterum de dicto glutine seu cola de super trahes et illico aurum 
tamn pones et de cotho suaviter turpedines ipsum et ita dimitte 
siccare si vero polire eum vis de emate vel dente canino polies 

192. Item ad ponendum aurum. — Accipe brasilium noviter 
distemperatum cum glarea ovi optime fracta cum spungia vel 
aliter et de ipso protrahe et pinge quae vis in pergameno 
vitulino vel alio ubi ponere aiurum volueris et statim aurum de 
super pone et de cotho quasi non tangens turpedine, dimit- 
tesque dimidium diem siccare vel per totum diem si vis. 
Postea accipe dentem caninum et brunire incipias primum 
quidem suaviter ne totum dissipes, deinde fortius postea tam 
fortiter ut frons tua sudore madescat. £t si aurum in perga- 
meno de ariete ponere volueris addes parumper de gumma 
cinea aliter gumma arabica quae mirabilis est ad operandum 
in utroque pergameno scilicet vitulino, arietino et capretino 
sicut in sequenti declarabimus utrumque etenim gummam dis- 
temperabis sic 

193. Modus distemperandi gummas ad ponendum aurum. — 
Accipies gummam qualem vis unam de duabus biis et ligabis 
in pannum lineum nitissimum ponesque in vitreo vase tota die 
et nocte in aqua jacere vel certe si festinare vis, distemperabis 
earn digito tuo cum ipsa aqua. Sic que in pergamenum penna 
protrahe omne quod vis et illico pone aurum ut suprascriptum 

194. De advertentiis Twhendis in ponendo aurum. — Sed inde 
adverte quomodo operari te oportet de auro, et ooloribus in 
ktmido loco propter calidum tempus quod sicut sepe nocet ad 
bruniendum aurum et ad colores de quibus aurum ponitur et 
de auro operari si opus fiat in minus faumido et nimb sicco 


ment that is too dry and not sufficiently moist ; bo also it is 
injurious when the weather is too dry and arid, or too dBiap, 
while applying colours or gilding. 

195. Also how to lay on gold, — Take gum arabic and dis- 
temper it as aforesaid. Then take gum ammoniac distem- 
pered with hot water over the fire, and mix it witih the gom. 
arabic, and stir it with your finger, and put it in the son, that 
it may be well mixed and liquefied. Next, take gypsam, and 
di^mper it with white of egg, and mix it with gum ammmiiae 
and gum arabic. And when you wish to gild leaUier or 
purple cloth, or linen or silk cloths, stir it up altogether, and 
draw beasts and birds and flowers upon them with a very sbarp 
stick, and let them dry. Then take the gold, and blow gently 
on the flowers, and lay on the gold directly, and press it down 
with a burnishing tooth or stone, and burnish it as before. 

196. Of certain kinds of gum or glue} — If you have not the 
air-bladder of a sea-fish, cut up thick vellum in the same 
manner, and wash it. Also wash carefully three times in 
warm water the dried bones of the head of a pike, and boil 
them. Whichever of these you boil, add to them one-third 
part of very clear gum, that is, gum arabic, and boil a little ; 
and you may keep this as long as you will. 

'Lk 197. How and with what vehicles to temper colours for pair- 
ing in boohs. — When mixing colours for painting in books, 
make a vehicle of the clearest gum arabic and water, as 
before, and mix with it all colours except green and cemse, 
minium, and carmine. Salt green is of no use in a book. 
Spanish green you must temper witli wine, and if you wish to 
shade it, add a little of the juice of sword grass, or cabbage, tjst 
leek. You must mix minium and ceruse, and carminium, widi 
white of egg. Grind azure with soap, and wash it, and mix it 
with white of egg. ' 

198. How tliat various tints are made by the mixture of the 

1 This chapter is a paraphrase of chap, zxxiii. of the first book of Theo- 
philus, English ed. 
C^^co TheophiluSy lib. i. cap, zxxiv. (Eng. ed.)^ of which this is a para- 


Tpergameno. Sic de coloribus vero operari et ponendo aunim 
in tempus nimis rigidum vel siccum ac etiam minus humidum. 

195. Item ad ipsum aurum ponendum. — Accipe gummam 
arabicam et distempera ut dictum est. Accipiesque moniacu^ 
lum distemperatum cum aqua calida ad ignem et misces cum 
arabica, distemperabis que digito tuo et pones ad solem ut 
bene distemperetur et liquefiat. Postea accipe gypsum et dis* 
tempera cum glarea ovi et clarum misce cum moniculo et ara- 
bica. £t quando aurum in corio vel in purpura vel in pellis 
lineis vel siricis ponere yolueris movebis omnia simul et facies 
bestias et volucres et flores cum baculo acutissime de super 
dimittesque siccum. Postea accipe illud et super flores modice 
suffla et statim aurum impones et imprima dente vel lapide ad 
bruniendum, et brunias ut supra. 

196. De quibusdam generibus gummi vel glutinis.— Si vesicam 
non habueris piscis marrini pergamenum vituli spissum eodem 
modo incide, lava quoque ossa etiam capitis lupi piscis sicca, 
diligenter Iota in calida aqua ter ilia coque; qualemcumque 
horum coxeris. Adde eis terciam partem gummi lucidissimi, 
i. e. arabici et modice coque et poterisservare quam diu volu- 

197. Quomodo temperantur colores in libris ponendis et de 
quibus liqtwribus, — Temperando colores in libris ponendos fac 
temperamentum ex gummi arabico lucidissimo et aqua ut 
supra et tempera omnes colores excepto yiridi et cerusa et 
minio et carminio; viride salsum non valet in libro, viride 
hispanicum temperabis vino et si volueris umbras facere adde 
modicum succi gladioli vel caulis vel porri ; minium et cerusam 
et carminium temperabis claro ovi. Azur mole cum sapone 
et lava et distempera claro ovi. 

198. Qui ex mixturis colorum ad invicem plurimce ipsorum 

phrase ; the last sentence excepted, which is not in Theophilus, but part of 
it will be found in the Clavicula, p. 61. 


colours with one another. — AH colours whatever are diversified 
and varied in various ways and manners, by mixtures being 
made with them or laid over them, of other colours, that agree 
with them in proper manners and quantities. If you require 
these mixtures for painting figures and other things, mix and 
temper them as before for books. And all colours are to be 
laid on twice, in books, and on parchment, first verjr thin, and 
then thicker ; but in letters only once.^ 

199. Of black, and ink, and of a black and green colour*^ 
Take ripe berries of honeysuckle, that is, in English, galetrice, 
and pound them well in a mortar. Afterwards boil them care- 
fully in wine, adding also some rust of iron to the decoctko. 
This is a green and brilliant ink. If you wish to colour a cIoA 
or a skin green, paint it over with a paintbrush. But if jon 
wish it to be black, add ink' to the composition, as usual. 

200. Gum prevents the ink from running, — If you wish to 
prevent the above written, or any other ink from running when 
you are using it, add the gum of a plum-tree or of an apple, ia 
the boiling, and boil it together. 

201. Abo how to make green^ according to t/ie Normans.^ — 
Take the herb which is called grenuspett [or gremispett], and 
boil it with beer or wine, so that the beer may be coloured 
yellow by tlie herb. Then strain it. Then grind sufficiently 
some Greek green with the beer, and afterwards let it stand in 
a basin or a copper vase in the sun to ripen. 

202. How to make auripetrum, — Spanish saffiron, distempered 
with very clear glue or liquid varnish, and laid over very clear, 
that is, very bright and well polished tin, assumes the appear- 
ance of gold to those that look on it, for it receives itscoloor 
from the sun, and its brilliancy from the tin, and thus may be 
made excellent auripetrum. 

1 The latter part of this chapter is from Thcophilus, lib. i. cap. xxxir. 
s This recipe and the next are in the Mappte Clavicula, p. 43. 
^ This recipe is also in the Clavicula (p. 43), without, however, the re« 
markable addition *^ acconiing to the Normans.*' 


^xirietates fiunt, — Omnes et quicumque colores 63^ mixinris 
aliorum eis convenientium debitis modis et quantitatibus eis 
adhibitis et impositis diversificantur et variantur plurimis 
YDodis et differenciis. Quas mixturas si indigueris ad pin- 
gendum Imagines et alia, compone et distempera in libris ut 
supra. £t omnes colores bis ponendi sunt in libris et perga- 
menis in primus tenuissime, Deinde spissius in Uteris vero 

199. De attramento et incausto et de negro et viridi colore. — 
Aecipe grana matura caprifolii hoc est anglice galetrice et in 
mortario bene contere. Post vino diligenter fac buUire ferrum 
aru^atum decoctione similiter addiciens. Hoc est viride et 
fulgens incaustum et si vis pannum vel corium habere viride, 
pincello desuper linias. Si vero vis ut niger sit huic composi- 
tioni adde solito attramentum. 

200. Qmd gumma cum prohibet fiuxum incausti. — Si vis 
facere quod superscriptum incaustum vel aliud non decurrat 
cum de ipso operatur, pone gummam cini vel pomi in coctione 
et simul coque. 

201. Item de viridi faciendo secundum normarmos. — Aecipe 
herbam que dicitur gremispect et bulli cum cervesia aut vino 
adeo ut cervisia crocea sit de herba. Postea cola I Deinde o/ 
pulverem de viridi Greco mola cum ipsa cervisia ut satis sit, 
postea stet in bacdno vel cupreo vase contra solem ad matu- 

202. Q^omodo efficitur auripetrum. — Crocus hispanicus cum 
lucidissimo glutine sen vemicio liquido distemperatur et stanno 
limpidissimo, i.e. pene polito eb claro^ superpositas speciem auri 
intuentibus mentitur quod a sole colorem et stanno accipit 
falgorem et inde optimum fit auripetrum. 


203. Also^ in the same manner^ a coat of gaU gives the ap- 
pearance of gold to copper vases.^ — By scraping copper with a 
knife, and burnishing it with a bear's tooth, it is polished 
Then lay gall evenly over every part of it with a paintbrush ; 
and, when it is dry, lay on more and more coats of gall, and it 
imitates the colour of gold. 

204. Haw to colour copper, — Take copper that has been well 
filed and polished and afterwards varnished over, and warm it 
frequently before the fire, and it will turn of a red colour. 
Afterwards scrape it with a sharp knife in several places and 
cover it again with some colour, and then the fire will torn it 
of a difierent colour ; and so in proportion to the warmth. 

205. AlsOy the manner of beating out tin-platesy so as to appear 
gilt, to use in painting, on account of the price of gold. — ^If you 
wish to make [imitate] gold leaf, take pure tin or silver and 
make it into very thin plates ; and take dry saffron flowers^ and 
wrap them up in a linen cloth and lay them in gum water, and 
leave them there until they are soft. Then take them out, 
being careful not to squeeze them. But if the saffinon which 
you intend to soak in water is fresh, you must first put the 
flowers in the sun in a linen cloth by themselves, to dry, and 
when they are dry soak them in water as before directed. 
Afterwards take the beforementioned water and lay it thinly 
once over the plates and let them dry. Then take the floweri, 
dried as before directed, and soak them in white of egg, whid 
has been whipped a little, and stir it with your finger, and let tbe 
plates lie in it a short time, imtil each piece has been dipped 
three times, letting the pieces dry separately between each of 
these three times, and afterwards polish them with an onjx 
stone ; and if you have no onyx, grease the tin with the oil 
which is made from linseed, and let it dry, and put it on paper 
or on wood in this manner. Take the above mentioned gum 
and put it in tepid water« and allow it to remain for so long as 
it takes to sing a mass.^ Afterwards lay pure white colour m 

> See Eraclius, lib. ii. No. XVI. » About a quarter of an hour. 


203. Itemque sic vasa cuprea linicio fellis deauroturam men* 
titur. — Cuprum raddendo cum cultello et bruniendo dente 
ursino splendificatur. Deinde cum felle linies pinoello per 
omnes ejus partes tracto equaliter ; quo siccato iterum atque 
iterum fel superpone et auri mentitor colorem. 

204. Ad colorandum cuprum, — Cuprum bene limatum et 
planatum postea vernicio tinctum ad ignem sepe calefaciat et 
contrabet colorem rubeum. Postea cum acuto cultello radde 
in diversis locis et iterum illini aliquo colore et ibi alium 
colorem habebit ad ignem et quanto plus calefiet 

205. Item de modo attenuofidi laminas stamni ttt nuratce 
videardur ex carentia auri utendas in operibm. — Si vis facere 
petonas de auro accipe stannum purum vel argentum et fee 
laminas multum tenuas et accipe crocum florem siccum et in- 
volve in panno lineo et pone in aqua ubi gumma est et dimitte 
ibi usquequo mollescat. Postea tolles eum et cave ne con- 
stringas eum ; si autem crocus recens est quum ipsam accipis 
pro p<Hiendo in aqua debes prius ponere ad solem in panno 
lineo florem separatim siocare et dum siccus fuerit mitte in 
aquam temperare ut dictum est superius. Post bee accipe 
aquam supradictam et tinge laminas subtiliter semel et admitte 
siccari. Debinc accipe florem siccatam sicut dixi et pone in 
glaream ovi aliquantulum vapulum et cum digito fricabis. Et 
laminas dimitte jacere aliquantulum in ea dcmec omnes laminae 
infusse sint ter. Ita tamen ut unaquaque vice exipsis tribus 
permittas eas sigillatim siccari, postea liccabis eas cum onchino> 
si non babes onchinum unge laminas de oleo quod fit de lini 
semine et permitte siccari, et eas pones in carta vel in ligno 
hoc modo. Accipies gummam supradictam et pones aquam 
tepidam et iterum tantum permittes jacere, quantum spatii est 
cantare missam. Postea pone purum album colorem sicut 
ponere debes in locis in qui bus ponere vis laminas et dum 

VOL. I. M 


a proper manner on those places on which you wish to apply 
the tin, and, when they are dry, polish them with an onyx 
stone ; then lay the gum water upon the white colour, and let il 
dry. Then polish it as before ; after this cut the tin according 
to the form required, lay it on with the said gam-water, and 
let it dry ; and clean it with a sponge dipped in cold water; 
then rub it down with a linen cloth well wrung out, and rub 
the tin, and afterwards polish it, as before mentioned. 

206. Also as before^ how to gild leaves or beaten plates of 
tin. — ^Take the herb which is called myrrh,^ and aloes, of eadi 
equal weights, and having mixed them U^ther, put them ia 
a proper quantity of water. Then boil them well, and after 
they hare been boiled, pour the water into a ressel, and take 
the leaves of tin well covered on one side with vamieii, im- 
merse it in the liquor as long as necessary. Then boil Ae 
middle bark of the black plum well in a vessel, and afierirards 
dip the same tin in this water. Then lay it on a table to dry. 

207. Also as before. — Mix linseed oil and resin, an equal 
weight of each, and add the same measure of vemix, put these 
ingredients into a jar and boil them well. Hien dip leaves of 
tin well varnished into it [the jar], and afterwards' dry them in 
the sun. 

208. Also as above. — Put linseed-oil and the inner bark of 
the black plum into a new jar, and boil it well for a short time 
upon charcoal or upon a clear fire. Then clean your glassa, by 
weight as much as you like, and put it into another jar, and 
take about half the quantity of alum, and of dragon's blood, 
and put it all into the jar, and lastly add a little resin, and 
melt the whole well together, and as soon as all the ingredients 

I It seens probable that the |fnni«r6ini nyrrh m mcaat, partictthrlj as 
myrrh is named among other gums and resins in the redpe entitled ^ Ln- 
cida quo modo fiant super colores/* in the Clavicula, p. 63, and in the 
Lucca MS., published by Muratori. At the same time it must be obsenred, 
that the author writes ** the herb which is called myrrh ;** and in the TaUe 
of Sjmonymes myrrh is said to be the " tree vulgarly called genestra." 
The plant called '* myrrha," myrrhis, &c., is the Scandiz odonto, 



siccom fuerit licca eum onicfaino et sic pones aqnam in qna 
gumma est super album colorem et dimitte siccare. Item 
lioca nt supra ; post hoc indde laminas secundum modum loci 
iibi ponere volueris, et pone eas cum dicta aqua gummata, et 
permitte uocari et cum spongia intincta in aqua fingida purga 
postea ipsas laminas ubi posuisti eas, postea cum panno lineo 
extersa optime et frica ipsas laminas et postea licca ut supra 
scriptnm est. 

206. Item ut iupra de modo deaurandi folia sea laminas 
stanad attenuatoi, — Accipe herbam que dicitur myrra et aloem 
tmo pondere ambas et commixtas simul pone in illam aquam 
secundum modum appositam. Deinde fiic bullire bene, et post 
eoctionem herbarum mitte aquam in sarta^nem et folia stanni 
bene illinita una parte de veniix appone et bene merge quan- 
tum opus fuerit Deinde medianam cortieis pruni nigri fac 
bullire, in sartaginem bene et postea mitte eadem folia in hac 
aqua. Deinde appone folia super tabulam ad siccandum. 

207. Item ut supra. — Oleum de lini semine et picem uno 
pondere mixtum et eamdem mensuram de vemix pone in oUam 
et &c bullire bene. Deinde mitte folia stanni bene vemiciata 
intus et post modum siccata ad solem. 

208. Item ut supra. — Oleum lineum et medianam corticem 
nigri pruni mitte in oUam novam ac fac bene bullire super car- 
bones vel claro igne paulatim, deinde munda glassam tuam 
quantum volueris cum pondere et pone in alteram ollam et 
aluminis quasi mediam partem et sanguinem drachonis et 
omnia bsec mitte in ollam et ad ultimum mixtum picem ad- 
junge et bene funde et quam citius hec omnia fondentur appone 

MTrrhis magno semine longo sulcato, Myrrhis major cicutaria odorato. 
Mjorhenkerbel, Aniskerbel. Id English, the sweet-scented Cicely, or 
myrrh. Cerfeuil odorant ou musqu^, Cerfeuil d'Espagne, Fr. Cerfoglio 
odoroso, Miroide, Ital. Matthioli and Leguna say that the Cerfeuil of the 
French was synonymous with the Gingidio of the Greeks (the Scandix cere- 
folium) : therefore, instead of " Genestra," we ought perhaps to read 
« Gingidio." 

M 2 


are melted, add the abovementioned oil, and, as if yoa were 
making a compound ointment, let them boil well together, and 
stir them frequently, and afterwards dip your nail into the oom- 
position and try whether it is good or not. 

209. Also as before. — Collect twigs of black plum, and pot 
them in the sun for a week or a fortnight, and then throw awsjr 
the outer bark, and take the inner bark, and put it into a 
rough jar, so as to fill it Then take linseed or hempseed-oO, 
and pour into the jar as much of it as it will hold, and heat 
it slowly over the fire, until the bark is reduced to cbarooaL 
Then throw away tiie bark, and strain the remainder of the oQ 
through linen, and take resin and white firankincense, iind dean 
the jar well, and then put all the ingredients into it again, and 
heat it as long as you please. 


supradictum oleum et secundum unctionem confectionk et sine 
bene bullire simul et ssepe move et post modum intinges ungu- 
lam tuam et temptabis utrum bonum sit an non. 

209. Item ut antea* — Collige rirgulas de nigro pnmo et 
pone ad solem per octo dies aut quindecim et postea primum 
projicies corticem accipies que secundum et pones in oUa rudi 
ita ut plena sit. Deinde accipies oleum de lino vel de canapo, 
et in oUa quantum intrare poteris impones et lente igne tam 
diu coques donee ipse cortex in carbonem redigatur et tunc 
projicies et per lintheum quod remanserit oleum colabis et 
postea accipies picem et thus album et ipsam que oUulam for- 
titer mimdabis, totum que simul repones iterum intus et quan* 
tum tibi placuerit coques. 

( 166 ) 



Two ancient copies only of the MS. of Eraclius have 
been hitherto discovered, and it is somewhat singular 
that both are bound up with MSS. of Theophilus. 

The most ancient of these is that discovered by 
Raspe in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge 
and which he afterwards published in his work on 
Painting in Oil (London, 1801). This MS. is written 
on vellum, and is of the latter half of the thirteenth 
century.* It is now in the British Museum.* The 
first two books are in verse ; the last, which consists of 
twenty-four or twenty-five chapters, is in prose. 

The MS. next in point of antiquity is that which 
forms part of the MS. of Le Begue. It is written on 
paper, and was transcribed in the year 1431, probably 
from an older MS., the property of John Alcherius, 
which passed with his other MSS. into the hands of 
Le Begue. The third book of this copy contains a 
great many additional chapters, and the whole of those 
published by Easpe, with the exception of one chapter, 
" De probatione auri et argenti."' 

1 Raspe, ' On Painting in Oil,' p. 42; EasUake, ' Materials for a His- 
tory of Painting in Oil,* p. 33. 
3 Egcrton MSS., 840, A. 
3 llasiie, p. 117. 


There is reason, however, to suppose that many 
copies of this MS. existed formerly, and that they were 
as widely scattered as the copies of the MS. of Theo- 
philus. That this was the case is, I think, proved by 
the fact that fragments of the Treatise of Eraclius are 
found in other works, although they are ascribed not 
unfrequently to other authors. I shall mention, in the 
first place, those works in which the metrical chapters 
are to be found. 

The most ancient work in which this occurs is the 
Treatise of Theophilus, the copy of which in the Bri-, 
tish Museum contains fifteen chapters of the first and 
second books of Eraclius, some of which, like the 
original, are metrical, while the others are paraphrases 
in prose ; and this is certainly a proof that this part of 
the Treatise of Eraclius was written before that copy of 

1 The mere fact of one MS. containing parts of another, is not of itaelf 
sufficient to prove the age of a MS. : as these old writers borrowed from 
each other without acknowledging their obligations, it is impossible to say 
which is the oldest, unless other circumstances assist in determining the 
age. In the case of Theophilus it is apparent that the poetical parts arc 
borrowed, because they ibrm part of another work written entirely in verse, 
while no part of Theophilus is in verse except the commencement, and the 
measure of the latter verses differs from those of Eraclius, for the former are 
Leonines, which is not the case with the latter. If this proof be insuffi- 
cient, the passage in Theophilus, lib. iii. cap. cvi., will be quite conclusive. 
He says, '* £x vitro si quis depingere vascula quserit, et te vcrte ad banc 
artem quae in primo libro scripta est Hsec enim ita se habet." The 
chapter referred to is not in Theophilus, but in the first book of Eraclius. 
In the case of the Clavicula, it is not so easy to determine whether it is 
older than Eraclius, because both contain copies of certain chapters which 
perhaiis belonged to a third work, for some of them are repeated two or 
three times in the Clavicula. The age of the MS. must be settled by the 
consideration of other circumstances, and these favour the presumption that 
the Clavicula preceded the third book of Eraclius. 


The earliest writer, after Theophilus, whose name I 
have yet found attached to the verses of Eraclius » 
Arnold de Villeneuve.^ The verses ascribed to him 
occur in the Secreti of Wecker,* published at Bade in 
1598, pp. 428 and 449. They relate to precious stones 
and crystal. 

Other metrical chapters of Eradius, eight in number, 
will be found in the same edition of Wecker (p. 643- 
645) ; but these chapters, instead of being ascribed to 
Arnold de Villeneuve, have the name of Marcellas 
Palingenius attached to them.' 

1 ArnoM de VilleiicuTe, a physiciian and afchemist He traTelkd io 
Italy and Germany. He wa» born a.d. 1245, and died previous to 1311. 

^ The work of J. J. Wecker, * De Secretis/ was originally a transladon 
of the secrets of Don Alessio Piemontese ; the first edftion was, according 
to Halfer, printed at Basle in 1559. " Every edition,'' says Beckmann, 
*' seems to differ from the preceding ; many things are omitted, and tke 
new editions are, for the most part, of little importance. I hare the edi- 
tion of Basle, 1592, 8vo., in which there is a great deal not to be found io 
that of 1662, and which wants some things contained in the edition of 1582. 
The latest editions are printed from that improved by Tbeod. Zorii^er, 
Basle, 1 701, 8vo. The last edition by Zuringer was pablished at Basle in 
1753.'' The edition of 1598, the preface of which is dated 1582, is the 
only one to which I have bad access ; I cannot say, tiierefere, whether the 
extracts from Eraclins are contained in other editions. 

s- llie real name of this Marcellus Palingenius was Manzelli, orManzoK; 
be was a native of the neighbourhood of Ferrara, and being a reformer, he 
narrowly escaped being pot to death by the Inquisition. He published a 
Latin poem, called the Zodiac ; the first edition of which was published 
not prior to 1584. The measure of these verses is different from that of 
Eraclius, and I could not discover that the work of the latter formed a part 
of it. Another work has also been ascribed to Marcellus, entitled ' De 
Corallorum Tincturi.' (Sec Potts' ' Chemical Dissertations,' translated by 
Demachy.) The fragment from Eraclius may have formed part of this 
work, for which I have inquired in vain in many public libraries. When I 
was at Ferrara I inquired for this and other works of Marcellus Palingenius 
of the Abb. Antonelli, the learned librarian of the public library of that 
city, and I showed him the verses in Wecker, but he could give me no 
information, except that the King of Prussia, when he was at Ferrara, had 


With regard to the chapters of the third book con- 
tained in other MSS., I shall at present mention only 
that some of them are to be found in the Clavicida. 
These have been collated with the MS. of Eraclius, 
and the variations are inserted in the present work. 
It is probable that many more chapters may be incor- 
porated into some of the works entitled *' Secrets ;" but 
there appears to be no inducement to undertake the 
labour of searching these works, since they would 
neither add to the practical knowledge of the arts they 
describe, nor make us acquainted with the history of 
Eraclius or of his works, since they do not bear his 

Of the biography of Eraclius nothing is known : his 
country and the date of his work are equally uncertain. 
The same uncertainty attends the work ; for there is 
some doubt whether the whole of the MS. ascribed to 
him in the Le Begue collection was actually written by 
him or not I shall first offer some remarks on the 
work itself, and shall then state the conclusions I have 
drawn from a careful consideration of it. 

With regard to the composition of the work itself, it 
appears to consist primd facie of three books, the first 
two of which are metrical ; the third is in prose. 

The metrical part consists of twenty-one stanzas or 

appeared to take a personal' interest in Palingenius, and had procured 
such of his works as he coald collect. On my return to £ngland, Sir 
Henry Ellis was so obliging as to give me a letter of introduction to Dr. 
Pertz, the librarian of the Ring of Prussia, to whom I wrote, requesting to 
know whether he could inform me if these verses, of which I inclosed a 
copy, formed part of any work of Palingenius which might be preserved 
in the Royal Library at BerHn. Dr. Pertz very kindly searched both 
the Royal Library and the King's private library, but without success. 





chapters. It commences with a prologue^ which is pre- 
ceded in the Cambridge MS. by these words, ^^ Incipit 
Liber Eraclii sapientissimi viri de coloribus et artibiis 
Bomanorum/' The commencement of the second book 
in the same MS. is ^^ Incipit Lib. 11. de colore auripig- 
mento simili ;" while in the Paris MS. the word ** me- 
tricus'' is inserted in the title of both books after 
** primus " and " secundus.'' The third book in the 
Cambridge MS. has no heading ; but in the Paris MS. 
it is headed >^ Incipit tertius liber et prosaicus CracIii 
antedicti de coloribus et artibus prsedictis." These 
various readings certainly suggest the idea that the 
headings of the chapters were not written by Eraclius 
himself and that the work consisted originally of the 
metrical parts only; and this supposition gains ground 
from a consideration of the difference of style observable 
between the first and second books and the third part, 
and from the &ct that the metrical parts contain fre^ 
quent allusions to the arts of the Romans, which is not 
the case in the third book, with the exception, perhaps, 
of the extracts from Vitruvius and Isidore. The chapter 
^^ De edere et lacca " is singular, and seems to indicate 
that the author was a native of Italy. Eraclius says, 

^' Hujus enim frondem nimium coluere priores^ 
Ad titulum laudis ; erat ipsa corona poetis." 

while the parallel chapter in Theophilus (E. Ed. p. 
394) runs thus : ^^ Poetarum enim carmina cum red- 
tarentur in theatro ante conventum romanorum corona- 
bantur hederd." From this it ipay be inferred, not 
only that Eraclius was a native* of Italy, and that 
Theophilus (supposing the whole of the MS. in the 


British Museum ascribed to Theophilus to have been 
included in his woric)^ was aware of the fact but also 
that the latter was not an Italian, otherwise he would 
not have changed the phraseology of Eraclius. 

The first chapter of the second book describes a yel- 
low colour, composed of the gall of a large fish, called 
^^ Huso/' mixed with chalk, which produced a colour 
like orpiment. A similar recipe, which is entitled 
'^colore aureo Lombardico," is contained in a small 
MS. in the Bibliotheque Boyale at Paris.' This is 
another intimation of an Italian origin. 

Although the name of Eraclius appears to be Greek,* 
and not Latin, I am induced to suppose that Eraclius, 
the author of the first two books, was an Italian, a native 
perhaps of some part of the Lombard dukedom of Bene- 
vento, which, says Sismondi, "had preserved, under 
independent princes and surrounded by the Greeks and 
Saracens, a degree of civilization which in the earlier 
part of the middle ages was unexampled throughout 
the rest of Italy. Many of the fine arts and some 
branches, of science were cultivated there with success. 
The schools of Salerno communicated to the West the 
medical skill of the Arabs, and the commerce of Amalfi 
introduced into those fertile provinces not only wealth,, 
but knowledge. From the eighth to the tenth century 

1 I havo l>efore observed, that the copy of the MS. of Theophilus in the 
British Museum contains no less than fifteen chapters taken from the first and 
second books of Eraclius. Some of these are transcripts, others are para- 
phrases. It is impossible to say whether these additions to the work of 
Theophilus were actually made by himself, or by one of his transcribers. 
The former appears to mo probable, because I think it is evident that 
Theophilus was well acquainted with the MS. ascribed to Eraclius. 

8 No. vi. MDCCXLIX., B. No. 9. 

3 Raspo, p. 44. 


various historical works, written, it is true, in Latm, 
but distinguished for their fidelity, their spirit^ and their 
fire, proceeded from the pen of several men of talent, 
natives of that district, some of whom clothed their 
compositions in hexameter verses, which, compared 
with others of the same period, display superior facility 
and fancy." 

The custom alluded to of composing works in hexa- 
meter verses, will not fail to recal to the mind of the 
reader the metrical work of Eraclius, the literary merit 
of which, however, certainly does not entitle it to rank 
among the works alluded to by SismondL 

It appears to have been also the custom in Italy 
during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to place 
inscriptions in Latin verse on works of art, as well of 
architecture, as of sculpture and painting, and even in 
mosaics. Many of these inscriptions have been pub- 
lished by Ciampi.* The verses were sometimes hex- 
ameters, and sometimes leonines. It is not improbable, 
therefore, that the first two books of Eraclius were 
written during the prevalence of this custom. 

The last book of the Cambridge MS. which follows 
the metrical chapters without any title, contains about 
twenty-five chapters which are arranged with some re- 
gard to order. Nos. I. — IV. relate to pottery ; two of 
these I have before observed are versified in the second 
book. Nos. V. — XII. treat of glass and precious stones. 
In these chapters is given a narration, taken from 
Isidore, who had copied Pliny, of the discovery of the 
art of making glass, with the marvellous legend of the 

1 Notizie inedite della Sagrestia Pistoicse, &c., pp. 27, 37, 38, 49, 46, 48. 


cup of flexible glass which, it is said, cost the inventor 
his life ; to which are added from other sources the 
method of making glass of various colours and of 
cutting and polishing precious stones. Nos. XIII. — 
XXIII. relate to gilding on metals, and the last two 
chapters relate to painting. There is reason to suppose 
that this third book of the Cambridge MS. is incom- 
plete, because there is a reference in one of the chapters 
to auripetrum, the composition of which is not described 
in this MS., but in that of Le Begue. 

The third book in the Le Begue MS. contains all 
ihe chapters enumerated above, with the exception of 
one ^^De probatione auri et argenti," to which are 
added above thirty other chapters which treat chiefly 
of painting. The arrangement, however, observable in 
the Cambridge MS. is not the same in the MS. of 
Le Begue, in which the different recipes appear to 
be thrown together at random without any regard to 
the subject. As it was therefore necessary to select 
between the arrangement of the Cambridge MS. and 
that of Le Begue, I have adopted the former as the 
most methodical, and have arranged the remaining 
chapters of the third book as systematically as it was 
possible. I have however retained the numbers of the 
Le Begue MS. for the convenience of reference, and 
have attached to ikem other numbers which commence 
with the third book. As the last chapters of the Cam- 
bridge MS. treat of preparing wood and colours for 
painting, the chapters which relate to the preparation 
of grounds and vehicles are placed next After this is 
a recipe for dyeing Cordovan leather, followed by 
recipes for colours, for gilding on pictures, and then 


for executing Nielli. Next follow several chapten 
relative to colours which are extracted principally firom 
Yitruvius, and lastly three chapters on painting which 
have evidenfly formed part of some Byzantine MS. 

While i^eparing this MS. for publication, I have had 
' occasion to remark, that several chapters in the third 
book, contain words and expressions and allusions to 
arts, which appear to belong to the twelfth or fiiirteenth 
centuries. From these expressions it also appearo to 
me quite clear, that the author of certain portions of 
the third book was neither a Greek nor an Italian ; on 
the contrary it seems to me extremely probable, from 
the fact of some of the foreign words introduced being 
of French origin, while others occur in French MSS^ 
that this part of the work was written by a Frenchman, 
under which term I include also the Normans, who 
were at that period English subjects. 

I shall first notice the word ^^ cerasin,^' which appears 
to me to be derived from the French, and if this could 
be proved it would at once fix the country of tiie 
author, for he says " quod nos Cerasin vocamus.** If 
this be the fact, ^^ Galienum " may also be considered a 
French term, for although it is mentioned in the Index 
of the second book of Theophilus (who calls it " Gial- 
lien " * and not " Galienum "), yet it will be recollected 
that this author professes to teach ^* quicquid in Fenes- 
trarum preciosa varietate diligit jFVanm/' and in lib. 
ii. cap. xii^ he again mentions the skill of the French 
in this art. Besides, the term "Gali colour, red," 

I L _ ■ - ■- . . , _^ - . ^^> ^ ■ 

1 " De vitro quod vocatur Gallien." See the Wolfenbiittel MS. of 
Theophilus, published by Lessing. There is a reprint of this work in the 
Svo. edition of Lessing's works, published in 1839. 


occurs in the MS. of Mayerne in an extract from the 
book of " Mr. CoUadon " entitled *' Couleurs des Es- 
maulx ou Vernix de la Poterie de Faience ; Copie de 
Toriginal d'un Maistre potier Anglais/' ^ 

The term "Grossinum," which occurs in No. VIII. 
and No. XLIX., appears to denote a gros, which was a 
French weight equal to 1 drachm or the 8th of an 
ounce ; it may also denote a small German coin, but 
in the present case the former may be fairly con- 
sidered to express its real signification. 

Among the terms which are peculiar to the north 
and west of Europe may be enumerated **Cervisia^" 
also " Warancia,** which is mentioned in the recipe for 
Cordovan leather No. XXXII., and which in the ex- 
tracts from Isidore No. LIII., is written "Garancia,"* 
and is identified with Saudis (madder); ^^Glassam" 
called in German "Glas,** and in French MSS. 
" Glasse," amber, and several others* 

It is to be observed that several recipes occur in the 

1 It b observed by all writers on glass-pointing, that the colours used for 
one art are always applicable to the other. See Le Yiml, de la Peinture 
sur Verre, p. 118. 

Le Vieil (p. 25) observes, " A great many of our French churches, 
which date from the twelfth century, contain coloured glass windows, 
which consist only of different compartments of glass, the ground of 
which is generally red, and this red glass was so common then, and is now 
so rare, that it is only with regard to this fine red colour that we can truly 
consider the art of painting on glass as a secret now lost." 

2 Granza is the Spanish for madder ; and Isidore, from whose work the 
passage in question was copied, was Bishop of Seville in the seventh century. 
Madder is called in French, Garanoe. In medieval MSS. the term Wa* 
rantia is generally used. 

The fact of the madder plant being mentioned under four different terms, 
two only of which are mentioned to be synonymous, is certsinly a proof 
that the recipes were written by different penons. In No. XXXII. 
the term *' Warancia*' occurs ; in No. LIII. we find '^Sandis, id est Ga« 
rancia ;" and in No. LV . the plant is called '' Rubea." 


third book, whrch are merely variations of some in the 
first book. This occurs so frequently in old MSS., that 
no conclusions can be drawn from this fact alone, as to 
the antiquity or originality of those of the first booL 
No. XVIII. in the first book is a metrical version of 
No. I, in the third book ; No. XIX. of the first book, of 
No. II. in the third book ; No. XXI. of the first book, 
of No. IV. in the third book. There is no evidence 
to show which of these are the most ancient. 

The same thing may be observed of the recipes for 
sculpturing or engraving gems and hardening iron, 
three of which occur in the first book ; a similar number 
are contained in the third book. The recipes are all 
somewhat difierent, but they are alike in principle, 
and Eraclius informs us (Lib. i. No. VI,) that they 
were derived in the first instance from Pliny. Several 
of these are found to be in Ihe Clavicula. 

As to the date of the third book of Eraclius, it 
appears to me that it must not be considered earlier 
than the twelfth, or later than the thirteenth century. 

The allusions to the arts of the Saracens or Arabians, 
in Nos. IX., XXXII., XL VI., and XL VII., prove 
that the work could not have been earlier than tlie ninth 
century, and the recipe for dyeing cordovan leather ^ 
(No. XXXIL), in which the word "Warancia" 

1 Cordova was taken by the Moors a.d. 711, and in the year 759 Ab- 
durrahman established his royal residence there. From that time Cordovi 
became the centre of the arts, of industry, and of genius. It was distio- 
guished for the excellence of its manufactures, and was especially celebrated 
for its leather, hence called '< Cordovan." The remains of the tan-pits 
employed in the process, which are still to be seen on the north side of the 
Guadidquivir, prove that the art was of Moorish origin^ for they were 
formed of baked earth, a material, says Mr. Murphy, much used by the 



occurs, affords a strong presumption that it was much 
later, in order to give time for the Moorish art to 
become known in those countries where madder was 
called by the above name. 

The lead glaze mentioned in No. III. will, however, 
probably enable us to fix the earliest date at which this 
third book could have been written, for De Brongniart, 
the director of the manufactory at Sevres, who cer- 
tainly may be considered good authority on this sub- 
ject, remarks in his Traits des Arts Geramiques, p. 
304, « J'ai dfeja dit que jusqu'a present on nWit re- 
connu aucune potterie Europeenne qui avant le xii"" 
siecle eut re^u une gla^ure plombifere.*' ^ He also says 
that lead glazing was applied to pottery at Pesaro 
about 1 100 ; that it had been found on pottery in a 
tomb at Jumieges, the date of which was 11 20. He 
also remarks, that pottery with a lead glaze was found 
al Alsace in the thirteenth century. 

The directions given by Eraclius for the preparation 
of oils and varnishes, and for painting generally, corre- 
spond with the practice of the thirteenth century, espe- 
cially in England, as Mr. Eastlake * has shown from va- 
rious documents preserved in the public records. I should 
also observe, that the real Lapis Lazuli is mentioned in 
No. LI^ with the test by which it was distinguished from 
the Azzurro della Magna, which certainly does not 
occur in Theophilus, the Lucca MS., the Clavicula, or 

Moore in Spain. The proepects of Cordova continued to increase until the 
dissensions which distracted the Moorish power in Spain, towards the close 
of the tenth century. After that period it continued to decline until the 
expulsion of the Moors in 1236. The trade in Cordovan leather was then 
nearly destroyed, and the Moore carried it with them to Morocco. 

1 See also pp. 96, 97, 98. 

s ' Materials for a History of Painting in Oil,* pp. 49-57, and 552-56L 

VOL. I. N 




S. Audemar, and I think not in the fifst or seeooj 
books^ of Eraclius. Brazil wood also is mentioned in 
the third book of Eraclius, and in S. Audemar, bat 
not in Theophilus, the Lucca MS., or the Clavicda. 

The probability is, that the third part was written 
after the Clavicula,* and shortly before the MS. of 
Theophilus, who appears not only to have introduoed 
some of the metrical parts of the work into his own; 
but it seems probable that he had the third book before 
him when he composed his own second book, slihoo^ 
he has enlarged, and I must say, very much improved 
upon his original, which I think I can trace in se- 
veral chapters of the second book of Theophilus^ and 
I also think that three of the missing chapters men- 
tioned in the table of contents of the second book of 
Theophilus will be found in the MS. of Eradius. Bed 
glass, called ^' Gallienum,'' and green glass, are de- 
scribed in No. VII., and blue glass in No. TIJl 
and No. XLIX. of Eraclius.' 

The extracts from Isidore relative to glass are 
contained in both MSS., those relating to pigment 
are in the Le Begue MS. only. Some of these arc 
abstracted in so imperfect a manner, as to be scarcely 

1 The ktzur mentioned in the second book seems to ha^e been native 
carbonate of copper, and not lapis lazuli, because it turned bbuA in the fat 

s The date of Sir T. Phillips's copy of the Clavicula (the only one 
known) is of the twelfth century, but the earliest copies of Eradiiu and 
Theophilus are of the thirteenth century. There is, however, intertfi 
eyidence of the Clavicula being older than the third book of Eradius, espe- 
cially those parts which relate to painting in oil, and which are fmmd ia tk 
Paris MS. only. 

8 The fourth of the missing chapters (De Coloribus qui fiunt ex caproet 
pi umbo et sale) seems to be contained in cap. xzzi. of the second book of 
Theophilus, entitled * De Anulis,' where we find the following words :— 
<* Deinde acquire tibi cineres, sal, pulverem cupri, et plumbum." 


intelligible. It is easy, however, to perceive that Nos. 
Ti. to LY. inclusive, are an abridgment of Chapters 
VII. — XIV. of the 7th book of Vitruvius, interspersed 
occasionally with a few original observations relative to 
colours generally, and to a few pigments which were 
employed during the middle ages. 

Chapters LVI. and LVIII. appear to be transla- 
tions from some MS. of Byzantine Art, which was cur- 
rent wherever painting was practised at this time, and 
parts of which also appear, with the variations likely to \ 
be met with in translations by different persons, and 
perhaps by persons of different nations, from the same 
original, in the Clavicula, in the MS. of S. Audemar, in 
the appendix to die Theophilus of the British Museum, 
and at the greatest length in the Sloane MS., No. 1754. 

From the fact of all these translations appearing in 
MSS. of northern origin (always supposing Theophilus 
to have been a German), and of the white pigment so 
frequently mentioned being called Album de Fullia, or 
Apuleya, I have formed the opinion that the original 
MS. of Byzantine art was written by a Greco-Italian 
of the Duchy of Benevento (which included Apulia), 
and that the MS. was perhaps communicated by some 
descendant of the Norman followers of Robert Guis- 
card ^ to the Normans settled in the west of Europe. 

1 In 1002 or 1003 the Normans first landed in the Neapolitan territory : 
in 1015 thej made their first settlement there. In 1019 the Normans 
voder Raynolf, uniting with the Lombards and Grreeks, drove the Saracens 
out of Sicily ; and the GreelLS, who, on the arrival of the Normans, were in 
possession of about two-thirds of the kingdom of Naples, re-established 
themselves, and made a distinct province in the western part of Apulia, 
under the name of Capitanata. In 1056 Robert Guiscard^ the Norman, 
was made Duke of Apulia, and his successors continued to enjoy the 
dignity until 1195, when the Normans submitted to the Emperor. 


I t 

\ { 

\ • 

« > 


After a careful perusal of the MS* attributed to 
clius, I have formed the following conclusions : — 

That it is a collection of works on art^ somewhat of 
the same nature as the MS. of Le Begue. 

That the metrical parts only constituted the Treatise 
de Coloribus et Artibus Romanorum of Eradius; aod 
that this part is more ancient than great part of the 
third book. 

That the third book consists of a miscellaneous col- 
lection of works on art, which may be arranged und^ 
three heads : first of an abridgment or paraphrase from 
Vitruvius and Isidore on making glass and on colonis ; 
secondly, of some translations of a Greek or Byzantine 
MS. ; and thirdly, of original matter, or of recipes 
collected from contemporary artists, many of which 
appear to be of French origin. 

That these MSS. fell into the hands of some persoa 
who did for them what Le Begue did for the collection 
of Alcherius, namely, united them into one work, and 
who also extended to the whole work the title which 
was probably intended for the first and second books 
only. I think there is some proof of this in the epithet 
added in both MSS. to the name of Eraclius, ^' Yir sa- 
pientissimus," which, whatever might have been the 
opinion of Eraclius relative to his own abilities^aDd 
he certainly did not underrate them — he would scarcely 
have ventured to place there himself. 

I think it of some importance to the arts that the 
time of Eraclius should be fixed. If my reasons are 
not satisfactory, I shall probably be corrected by those 
more skilled than myself on this subject 



P. denotes the MS. in the Royal Library at Paris. 
R. the MS. published by Raspe. 

W. the chapters printed by Wecker, and by him ascribed to Amaldus de 
Villanova and Marcellus Palingenius. 

T. the chapters of Eraclius found in the MS. of Theophilus in the Har- 
leian Collection at the British Museum. 

(T.) those chapters of which a prose version is given in the last-mentioned 

S, the chapters of the third book of Eraclius contained in the MS. No. 1754, 
of the Sloane Collection at the British Museum. 

C. the chapter» of the third book of Eraclius contained in the treatise 
called ' Mapp® Clavicula.' 

Cant. The MS. formerly at Cambridge, but now in the British Museum. 

( 182 ) 







I have described, brother, yarious flowers for your use, as 
I best could. I hare added to the flowers the arts which rehle 
to, and are proper for writing ; to which, if you pay attentum, 
yon win find them true in practice. I indeed write nothing to 
you, which I have not first tried myself. The greatness ot in- 
tellect, for which the Roman people was once so eminent, has 
faded, and the care of the wise senate has perished. Who can 
now investigate these arts ? Who is now able to show us wbat 
these artificers, powerful by their immense intellect, discorered 
for themselves ? He who, by his powerful virtue, holds the 
keys of the mind, divides the pious hearts of men among various 


( 183 ) 







' Ut potui levius yarios tibi frater ad usus 

Descripsi flores, adjeci floribus artes^ 

CoBgrua acripturis quae sunt, et idonea' scriptis, 

Que si perpendiSy utendo vera probabis. 

Nil tibi scribo quidem, quod^ non prius ipse probassem. 

Jam decus ingeuii quod^ plebs Romana probatur 

Decidit, ut periit sapientum cura senatum. 

Quia nunc has artes investigare valebit, 

Quas isti artifices, immensa mente^ potentes, 

Invenere sibi, potens est ostendere nobis ? 

Qui tenet ingenii claves virtute potenti 

In varias artes resecat pia corda yirorum. 

* Primus et metricus omittit R, ^ Et primo prohemium omittit R. 
> Idone R. « Qum R. « Meree R. 


11. How various colours jit for writing are made from 

tvild flowers} 

He who wishes to convert flowers into the various colonn 
which, for the purpose of writing, the page of the book demandis 
must wander over the corn-fields early in the morning, aiMl tliea 
he will find various flowers firesh sprung up. Let him make 
haste to pluck them for himself; and when he gets home, let 
him take care not to mix them together, but let him do wbat 
this art demands [namely], grind these flowers upon a smooth 
stone, and grind raw gypsum along with them. So you can 
preserve these colours dry. And if you wish to change the 
colour to green, mix lime with the flowers. You will then see 
what I have bid you [do], which is as I haye already tried // 

^ See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 892. Wecker, p. 648. 

The early painters were aocustomed to prepare many vegetable pigmeols 
for painting in miniature. Indeed there are scarcelj anj planta wiaefr 
yield colouring juices, which have not, at some period, been used ibr diis 
purpose. The process employed in the text was simple enough : it ooa- 
sisted in grinding the flowers first by themselves and then with mlphate of 
lime, which, while it gave body to the vegetable pigments, did oot aftcl 
the colours. The text shows that the efiects of lime in changing vegetable 
blues to greens, even at that early period, were well understood. 

III. To paint earthen vases} 

If any one wishes to paint vases with glass, [let him grind 
Roman glass well on marble, and when it is like dust, let him 
paint earthen vases with it, with the clear fatness of gum, mixed 
with spring water ; and when dry, send them to the fomace. 
Let the earth [clay] be good, so as to stand the fire ; and at 
length he will take out of the furnace shining vases good enough 
for kings.] Let him choose for himself two stones of red marble, f 

between which let him grind the Roman glass, and when it is 1 1 

> See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 398 ; and Wecker, p. 644. , j 



II. Quomodo jiant diver si cohres deflonbas campestri- 

bus ad scribendum apH} 

Rores in varios qui vult mutare colores, 
Causa scribendi quos^ libri pagina poscit, 
Est opus ut segetes in summo mane pererret, 
£t tunc? diversos flores ortuque recentes 
Inveniet properetque sibi* decerpere eosdem. 
Cumque domum^ Aierit,^ caveat ne ponat in unum 
nios, sed faciat quod'' talis res^ sibi poscit* 
Desuper^® equalem petram contriveris istos 
Flores ; incoctum pariter turn" contere^* gypsum*^ 
Sic tibi siccatos poteris servare colores. 
Ex quibus in viridem si vis mutare colorem,'^ 
Calcem commisce cum floribus ; inde videbis^*^ 
Quod tibi mandayi, veluti prius ipse" probavi. 

^ Sic P. ; R. et T. habent de floribus ad scribendum; W. Ckarmm de 
floribus seu cohribus, cut scribendum, pmgendum, &c. ' Quis P. ' £t 
inter R. * SiH omittunt P. R. » JDoim W. T. « Fuerint T. i Qua P. R, 
» Quis W. • Poscit vel guanii T. " Ihtm super W. T. » Tu P. R. 
" Cmgere T. " Sic W. T. ; Gipsum P. R. " Eecentem W. »* Hanc 
Iraeam omittit W., errore forsan tjpographico. ^* VetuH prius ipse W. ; 
verwn velut ipse P. R. ; vebUi ipse T. 

iiT. Ad vasaJictUia depingenda} 

E vitro* si quis depingere vascula' quaBrit, 
[Vitrum^ Romanum bene marmore conterat, et cum 
Ut pulvis fuerit, claro pinguedine gummi, 
Fontis aqua mista, figulorum vascula pingat, 
Siccaque fornaci mandes : sit terra probata 
Quae valeat flammis obstare, nitentia tandem 
Re^bus apta satis ex fumo vascula toilet] 
Eligat ipse duas rufo de^ marmore petras 

* Sic W. ; De preciosa pictura mtri R. ; De pictura ex vitro T. ; Qwo- 
modofialtB terrees ex preciosa pictura de vitri Utundne facta omantur P. 
« Ex vitro T. ; De vitro W. ; De vitro flalas P. » Vascula omittit P. 
* In [ ] inclusa in W. solum continentur. * De ntfo T. 


pulverized as fine as the dost of the earth, let him make it hqmd 
with the clear fatness of gum. After this let him paint the 
vessels, which the workman has finely moulded in claj, and wbea 
they are dry, let him put them into the furnace. And let Iiim 
take care to put them into [vessels of 'J good clay^ that tfaej 
may thus be able to check the heat, and make them ahiTnng 
with perfect beauty. 

^ Compare with the last sentence in No. III. lib. iiL 

IV. Of sculpturing glass} 

O all you artists, who wish to engrave in a beantifiil manner 
on glass, I will now show you what I myself have tried. I 
sought fat worms, which the plough turns up from the earth ; 
and the art useful in these things bid me at the same time sedc 
vinegar, and the warm blood of a large he-goat, which I had 
cmmingly fed for a short time on strong ivy, tied up under cover. 
After this, I threw the worms and vinegar into the warm blood, 
and anointed all the bright shining vessel, after which I tried to 
carve the glass with the hard stone called pyrites. 

^ See Theoph., £. Ed., p. 396 ; and Wecker, p. 644. 

V. Of phials decorated with gold. 

The Romans made themselves phials of glass, artfully varied 
with gold, very precious, to which I gave great pains and atten- 


Inter quas Titrum Bomanum conterat,' et cum 
Ut pulvis teirae fuerit pariter resDlutum, 
Hoc faciat^ liqiudum clara pinguedine gummi 
Post baec* depingat petolafl^ quas finxit honeste 
Hgulus. Hoc facto suocensae impouat^ easdem 
Fornaci, caveatque simul quod^ terra probata 
Has teneat, quo'' sic valeat" obstare calori' 
Bias que faciat^^ plena yirtute nitentes. 

* Conierei P. R. W. • Facie$ P. R. • Post hocF.W. * Sic P. R. 
Pagmas T. ; Pecidas W. ' Figuhu e terra; suxatas ponat W. * Qua 
P. R. ; ^tto T. 7 Qiifl W. • Valeant W. T. • CWbn P. R. »• Sic T. ; 
lUasquefadet W. P. ; lUas qui fades R. 

IV. De sculptura vitri.^ 

O yos artifices qui sculpere vultis honeste' 
Vitrum, nunc vobis pandam,' yelut ipse probavi, 
Vermes quiBsiyi pingaes quos yertit aratrum 
£x terra,^ atque simul me quaerere jussit^ acetum 
Utilis ars istis rebus, calidum que^ cruorem 
Ex fairco'' ingenti, quem sellers' tempore parvo 
Ex hedera' forti pari tecto religatum. 
Sanguine cum calido ; post hsec^^ vermes et acetum 
Infiidi,'' ac totam fialam clare renitentem 
Unxi ; quo facto, temptavi ^^ sculpere vitrum 
Cum duro lapide piritis^' nomine dicto. 

* Sic R. and T. ; De Sculptura vitri, quomodo Jit P. ; Modus pingendi 
vasa, et vitra W . * HonestiW. ^ Pandam vobis Vf. * E terra?. Ii.\ 
Per teiram T. • Sic W. ; Jussit me quarere alii. • Atque W. ' ffyrco T, 
' SoKto quem W. * Ex Hedera W. ; ex herba P. R. ; herba ex hedera T. 
w Posthoc P. " Infondi P. » Quo pacto tentam W. » Piritis, aic R. 
P.T.; SmerOHW. 

V. DejwMa auro decoratis} 

Bomani fialas, auro caute variatas, 
Ex vitro fecere sibi, nimium preciosas ; 
' DefiaUs vitri auro decorandis P. 


tion, and had my miud's eye fixed upon them day and mgiitr 
that I might thus attain the art by which the {duals abooe ao 
bright; I at length discovered what I will explain to yoti, wy 
dearest friend. I found gold-leaf carefully inclosed between the 
double glass.^ When I had often knowingly looked at it, hGog 
more and more troubled about it, I obtained some phials shimi^ 
with clear glass, which I anointed with the fatness of gam with 
a paint-brush. Having done this, I began to lay leaf-gold upcm 
them, and when they were dry I engraved birds and men and 
lions upon them, as I thought proper. Having done this, I 
placed over them glass made thin with fire by skilful blowing. 
After they had felt the heat thoroughly, the thinned ^ass ad- 
hered properly to the phials. 

> A small design in gold and silver is mentioned by Count Caylm in 
work entitled ' Recueil d' Antiquity,' tom. iii. p. 193, which is thought to 
be enclosed between two strata of glass, probably in the manner described 
in the text One stratum of the glass mentioned by Caylos was blue, the 
other was colourless. From the recipe in the text, it may be conjectured 
that this method of gilding on glass was followed by the Romans^ and eiriy 
Italian school, which existed contemporaneously, although independently of 
the Byzantine school, at the time when the MS. of Eraclius was written. 
The process taught by Theophilus (lib. ii. cap. xiii.), and usually adopted 
in the Florentine school of Mosaic painters, who were taught by the Byan- 
tine Greeks, appears to have been different See Lettera di Brandii al 
Prof. Ciampi, Notizie Inedite, &c., p. 25, n. 

VI. Of engraving preciolis stones? 

Whoever wishes to cut with iron the precious stones in which 
the kings of the Roman city (who miciently held the arts in 
high estimation) much delighted, upon gold, let him learn the 
discovery which I made with profound thought, for it is very 
precious. I procured iu*ine, with the fresh blood of a huge he- 
goat, fed for a short time upon ivy, which being done, I cut 
the gems in the warm blood, as directed by Pliny, the author 
who wrote upon the arts which the Boman people put to proof, 
and who also well described the virtues of stones ; of which he 
^ See Theoph., £. Ed., p. 402; and Wecker, p. 428. 




Erga quas gessi cum summa mente laborem, 
Atque oculos cordis super has uoctuque dieque ^ 
Intentos habui, quo sic attingere possem 
Hanc artem, per quam fialse valde renitebant;* 
Tandem perfexi tibi quod Carissime pandam. 
Inveni petulas" inter vitrum duplicatum 
Inclusas caute. Cum sellers sepius illud 
Visu lustrassem, super hoc magis et magis ipse 
Commotus, quasdam claro vitro renitentes 
Quaesivi fialas mihi,^ quas pmguedine gummi 
Unxi pincello. Quo facto' imponere cepi 
Ex auro petulas super illas ; utque^ fiiere 
Siccatae volucres homines pariterque leones 
Inscripsi ut sensi ; quo &cto desuper ipsas 
Armavi^ vitrum docto flatu tenuatum 
Ignis ; sed postquam pariter sensere calorem 
Se vitrum fialis' tenuatum junxit honeste. 

'DiebusF. ^Nitebant?, •Pacuha?. *MichiF. ^ Ex auro male 
BuppIetR. •AtgueF. ^OmamT. •FiakeR. 

VI. De precioaorum lapidum indsione} 

Qui cupit egregios^ lapides imimpere ferro 
Quos dilexerunt nimium reges ^ super aurum 
Urbis Romanse, qui celsas jam tenuere 
Artes,^ ingenium quod ego sub mente profunda 
Inveni, accipiat' quoniam valde est* preciosum. 
Urinam ' mihi quaesivi, pariterque cruorem 
Ex hirco ingenti, modico sub tempore pasto 
Herba, quo facto, calefacto sanguine gemmas 
Incidi, veluti monstravit ® Plinius • auctor. 
Artes qui scripsit quas plebs Romana probavit, 

* Sic P. R. De sadpendis gemmU T. Cremnuxnan secHo W. * Egre- 
ffioW, * Jieges natdum W.T, * ArcesW. ^CapiantW. • Sic P. ; 
es^omittet R. ; T. habet quern valde est; et W., quoniam nirnis est. ' Uri- 
dmYi, > Monstrante R. ' Plemus P. 


who knows the powers, esteems them most For the first Ido^ ^ 
who anciently held the city, adorned with gems tlieir garments^ 
gleaming with gold ; of these the most remarkable was Aure- 
lian, who interwove his own robes with gems and gold. 

vn. Of golden writing} 

Whoever wishes to execute beautiful writing with gold, let 
him read what I say in lowly verse. Let him grind gold with 
pure wine, until it is well dissolved. Then let him wash it 
frequently, for the white page of the book demands this, and 
then make it [liquid] with the fatness of ox [gall, if he please^ 
or with the clear fatness of gum] ; and I also request him to 
stir it with a reed when he uses the gold, if he wishes to write 
beautifully. When the writing is dry, let him make it yery 
brilliant with the tooth of a savage bear. 

» See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 392. 

vni. Of ivy and lake? 

The strong ivy is very useful for these purposes. Our an- 
cestors were very fond of its leaves as a mark of honour : it 
was used as a crown for poets. In the spring all things rejoice, 

» See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 394. ; 

It appears that the resinous juice exudes from the ivj in warm countries i 

only. See Nenrnichj Palyglotten-Lexicon, Tit, Hcdera. ' It will be ob- ; 

served, that the juice, when it first flowed from the ivy, was not red, but ; 

that it gradually acquired that colour. / 


Atque simul lapidum virtutes soripsit honeste, 
Quorum qui noecit ^ vires, plus' diligit illos. 
Nam primi reges, urbem qui jam tenuerunt' 
Gemmis omarunt vestes auro renitentes. 
Ex quibus iosignis primus fuit Aurelianus 
Qui proprias Testes gemmis contexit et auro.^ 

» Sic T. W. ; neacU R. P. * Minus R. P. » Tenuere R. P. * Ho6 
qoatuor versus ultimos omittit W., et eonim loco ponit '* Prinma ait versus 
quot hdbet senteatia sensus.'* 

VII, De aurea scriptura. 

Scripturam pulcram quisquis bene scribere quaerit, ^ 
Ex auro, legat hoc quod' vili carmine dico. 
Aurum cum puro mero ' molat, usque solutiim 
Hoc ^ nimium fuerit. Tunc sepius abluat illud ; ' 
Nam quia^ deposcit hoc candens pagina libri. 
Exin taurini faciat'' pinguedine [fellis' 
Hoc liquidum, si vult, sen cum pinguedine] gummi. 
Atque rogo pariter calamo cum ceperit aurum 
niud ^ commoveat, pulchre si scribere quaerit. 
Hinc siccata sicut ^^ fuerit scriptura, nitentem 
Hanc ^^ nimium £eLciat ursi cum dente feroci. 

* Si qtds scripturam queBrit sSbi scribere pulcram T. • Hie gum R. 
» Mero T., Menio P. ; omittit R. * Hoc T. ; omittunt R. P. « Sic R. P. 
MoneoguodseepelavetiUudT. ^Namqueli.F. 7 FacietKV. • Ex T. 
In R. P. male omissum. • Ilium T. wfiWttfT. » JBTtinc T. 

vin. De edera et lacoa? 

Plropositis rebus edere satis utile robur. 
Hujus enim * frondem nimium coluere priores 
Ad titulum laudis ; erat ipsa corona poetis. 
Vere novo, reduci cum gaudent ' omnia succo, 

* Sic R. ; in P. vero De edera herba et lacca succo ejus rubeo ab ipsa 
exeimti. ' C/if R. ' Ckan gaudent P. Congaudent R. 



being refreshed with new sap ; and the spring brings baek the 
moisture to the trees, while the winter refuses them the power 
of growing. The ivy is similarly affected ; for the ofl&hoots of 
the branches, pushed into barren places, ^ve out a juice, 
which, whoever collects, should put into a red vase of baked 
earth, and it will gradually assume a blood colour. Hiis the 
painter loves, and the scribe equally delights in. Hence also 
is made the parcia dyed with a rose colour. It also serres to 
dye the skins of goats and sheep. 

IX. Of goMMaf^ how it is laid on ivory} 

You will decorate earrings in ivory with gold-leaf. Now 
hear in what manner this thing is done. Seek to obtain the 
fish which is called ^^huso,"* and keep its air-bladder liqu^ed 
by being boiled in water, and with this mark over the place 
where you wish to lay the gold ; and you will thus easily be 
able to fasten it to the ivory. 

1 See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 404 ; and Wecker, p. 645. 

' The Huso or Huson (Acipenser Huso) was the large sturgeon from 
which isinglass is procured. It was the IchthyocoIIa of Pliny ; the Ittiocolli, 
Usone, Colpesce, of the Italians ; the Copese of the Venetians ; the Ism- 
glass fish of the English ; the Huizenblasfisk of the Dutch ; Der Haiven 
of the Germans ; and the Bjeluga of the Russians. See Nemnicfa, Polyg. 

X. How gems are polished} j 

If you wish to give a shining splendour to gems, obtain for 
yourself a piece of smooth marble, and lest it may be injured 
by this, lay it on the gem and rub it gently, and a polish will 
be given to the stone. The harder it is, the brighter polish will i 

it take. { 

I See Theoph., E. Ed.^ p. 402 ; and see Wecker, p. 645. \ 


Arboribusque refert humor, quas bruma negabat 
Cresoendi vires, ederam talis probat ordo. 
Nam subula rami, loca per deserta forati, 
Emittunt viscum, quern qui sibi sumpserit ilium, 
Transferet in rubeam coctum pruri^ne ^ formam ; 
Sanguineumque sibi leviter capit ille colorem. 
Hunc sibi pictor amat et scriptor diligit eque. 
Hinc etiam roseo fit parcia tincta ^ colore. 
Quae' quoque caprinas, quae' pelles tingit ovinas. 

' Pnarigine P. ; in R. lacuna relicta sic — . . , ,rigine. • Parva tmctura 
P. » Quam R. 

IX. JDe petula auri, quomodo in ebore mittatur} 

Sculpturas eboris auri petulis ' decorabis 

Quo tamen ipsa tibi ^ res ordine congruat audi. 

Quaere tibi piscem qui dicitur usa * liquentem 

Vesicam tamen * serva cum flumine coctara 

Inde locum petulam cui * vis componere signa 

Sic ebori facile poteris ipsam consolidare. 

* Sic R. ; Qiwmodo petula auri in dH)re mittatur ^ et cum quo visco P. ; 
De pictura eboris W., qui hunc versum ceeteria premittit — ^^Pifigere si quis 
dmr vult sicprocedere debet" « Pecula W. » Itbi omittunt R. P. * Sic 
P. ; Husa W. ; R. lacunam habet « Tantum P. ; W. vero habct Vesi- 
cam serva decoctamflumnis unda. ' Petulam quern P. ; Pecula quern W., 
qui sequentcm versum omittit. 

X. De gemmis quomodo lucidce jiunt} 

Si vis splendentem gemmis inferre nitorem ^ 
Partem quaere tibi tantummodo marmoris sequi 
Gemma superposita petrae, sed fliunine pauco 
Hinc ne laedatur, tractu leviore limetur.' 
Quanto durescit, tanto magis ipsa nitescit.^ 

^ Sic P. ; Be gemmis quomodo luceant R. ; Gemmts ut nitescant W. 

* Cohrem P. R. ' Sic emendavi. W. habet ^' Gemma supposita petrtB, sed 
Jhmdne pauco : sed ne IcBdatur, tractu lemore Hmetur. " P . et R. vero * * Hinc 
ne kedatur, tactu leviore Umetur Gemma superpasito, sedpetre lumine tracto" 

* Nitescit P. ; Accescit R. ; Aitebit W. 

VOL. I. O 


XI. Of a green colour far wriiinff'} 

If you wish to embellish your writing with a green colovr, 
mix vinegar together with strong honey, and then cover np tie 
vase itself in very hot dung ; and so take it out after twelie 
days shall have elapsed. 

> See Theoph., £. £d., p. 396. 

The vase mentioned in this chapter must have been of copper or hnas. 
The colour produced in that case would have been verdigrisj which is aa 
acetate of copper. 

xir. How to cut crystal} 

Crystal can easily be cut by the following artifice :• 
for yourself a convenient plate of lead, and join two boards to 
it, one on each side, with a centre piece of iron, so as to keesf 
the lead steady ; for to the lead alone belongs the business of 
cutting, and the outer plates are as guides to make it ran 
round evenly. But you would not be able to overcome sQch 
great hardness by the unassisted softness of the lead, unless 
you join to it some powder, such as the pulverized fragment of 
a furnace, which you will be able to fasten to the tender plate, 
for this addition will make the lead sharp, and the fragments 
of brick also have equal force ; you must cut it, adding to it a 
little river water. But let the blood of a goat first temper it, 
for this blood makes the iron so hard that even adamant is soft 
compared with it. 

1 See Wecker, p 449. 

Compare with Theophilus, lib. iii« cap. zciv. (£. Ed., p. 387). Crystal 
is defined by Theophilus to be '* water hardened into ice." In &tt, Mr. 
Hendrie observes, he has repeated the opinion of Pliny. The term " crys- 
tal *' was also applied to glass made from pulverized quartz or sand fused 
with an alkali. In an extract from the book of Mr. Colladon, quoted in 
the Mayeme MS. and by Mr. Hendrie (Theoph., p. 180), ciystal b de- 
fined to be ** very clear ^ass of Venice." 



XI. De viridi colore ad scnbendum} 

Si quttria riridi scriptura' colore notari^ 
Acri commiflsuin melli miscebis acetum ; 
Hitic ralde calido vas ipsum contege fimo. 
Sic et bissenis hoc extrahe Bolibofi^actis. 

• Sic R. ; adscribendianqumodoftt P. • ScnpteR. » Tidibus R. 

xn, Quomodo cristaUum possit secari} 

Cristallum tali facile ' valet arte secari/ 
Opportuna * tibi quseratur ' lamina plumbi f 
Huic ' etiam binae claves ' jungantur utrinque,® 
Ex ferro medium, quae firmant ^® undique plumbum ;" 
Nam plumbo soli ^ tribuetur cura secandi. 
Ipsi custodes laminae sint exteriores, 
Ut sibi dent rectum recto consumere ^' curBum. 
Sed nee duritiem '^ poteris praerumpere ^ tantura 
Mollitie pimnbi, nisi quaedam junxerig ^^ illi 
Tanquam pulverulas fomacis fragmine micas ^^ 
Quae tenerae poteris ktminae connectere plumbi ^^ 
Haec etenim plumbum conjunctio reddet *^ acutum. 
At quum rursus ^ habent lateris fragmenta vigorem 
Concidis adjuncta paulatim fluminis unda^^ 
Sed" vim cristalli cruor antea temperet hirci 
Sanguis enim facilem ferro facit hie adamantem.*' 

^Sic R. Quomodo cristaOum posHs secare P. CristalH sectio W. 
• CristaUug taU dunts W. » Parari P. * Oportuna P. R. * QuiBre- 
tur W, • Ferri P. R. ' Hinc? P. R. « Sic R. Bene davoa P. ; Bim 
dam W. * Utrumque P. ^^ Qia aoUto medium consumad W. ^' Pbonbi P. 
"SotoP. R. ^ ConammeT.n. »* Dundam R. P. " Pnwtmgjcrc R. P. 
^ Ita emendavi. Nee quidehm junxeru R. ; iVtsi quoddam junxeris P. ; 
Nisi qwBdamjunxeritf W. ^ Sic P. R. ; Tanquam puivereas fomacis frag- 
ndne mxttas W. *• Sic W. ; Contere, quas tenercB poteris [pasais P.] con^ 
neetere lamuuB P. R. ^* Hunc versum omittit W. Beddit P. *° Et quum 
tursum P. R. " Hunc vereum omittunt P. R. « &' W. « Sic P. W. ; 
Hunc versum omittit R. 

o 2 


xni. Of tempering iron \hardfor cutting stonesSy 

[You must thus make iron hard fcnr scalptaring' gemsLJ 
Whoever wishes to cut stones with the solid iron, mnst observe 
the followmg rules to tamper its edge. At the time when tiie 
goat is in heat his fat alone is fit for this purpose. For if any 
one quenches the hot iron in its &t, it immediately becooMs 
hard with a firm edge. 

1 See Theoph. p. 404. Wedcer, 428. 

XIV. Of the gems which you wish to make from Reman 


You will thus he ahle to make beautiful shining gems c^ 
every sort with Roman glass. Hollow out some day for your- 
self as a mould for the stone ; and put into it some glass brd^ea 
into small pieces. You may easily prepare this [the mould] 
by this artifice. Let a certain reed be skilfully turned roond 
and round, and when it [the clay] begins to harden, and the 
rod sticks tight, then fix it on the rod on both ades, and let the 
rod be held by the glass placed round it ; and then put the 
clay, guarded by a hollow iron, mto the fire, and when the glasB 
is thoroughly liquefied, press it into the hollow with a farig^ 
iron, so that you may have no bubble or flaw in it 


xnr. De temperamento duroferri ad incidendum lapides} 

Qui quserit solido* lapides irrumpere ferro, 
Hob habeat ritus, ut acumen temperet ejus. 
Tempore quo solito magis uritur ' hircus amore, 
iSolus adeps hujus fit ad istos aptior usus. 
Hujus enim calidum ^ si quis pinguedine ferrum 
Extinguit,^ subito durescit acumine firmo. 

' Sic P. ; De temperamento farri R. ; Gemmarum eculptura W., qui hunc 
venum alteris prsmittit — Sic gemmis durum scvlpendk effice ferrum. ' Qui 
ffuaretsoiido'R.jquisquisvuU ioKioW, ^ Uritur moffisF, * CkmdenaW, 
* JReatmguet R. ; refrigeret P. 

XIV. De Gemmis quas de Romano vitro facere quc^ris. 

Sic ex Romano poteris conficere vitro 
Splendentes pulcros generis cujusque lapUlos 
Ad modulum lapidis cretam tibi quippe cavabis ; 
Hie pones yitrum per quaedam frusta minutum. 
Hunc ergo facile poteris hac arte parare. 
Subtiliter ^ qusedam circumvolvatur arundo. 
Qui dum duresdt, dum virga firmius ^ haeret, 
Tunc ipsi virgse superimponetur utrinque,' 
£t circumposito teneatur virgula vitro ; 
Atque cavo tectam ferro post^ insere cretam 
Igni ; fit* vitrum ; cum fit^ penitus liquefactum, 
In fossam lato fulgenti ' comprime ferro ; 
Quo vesica sibi, quo lesio nulla supersit. 

>SiiktfeP. «2>iirTt«P. ^UtrumqueF, * Ferro past P. PenitusK 
» Fit. Sic emendavi ; codices sit habent. « Fit, Sic R. ^St^ P. ^ j?- 

( 198 ) 




XV. Of a colour resembling orpiment} 

You will easily be able to make a colour resembling oirpi- 
ment thus ; preserve it carefully in your memory. The gall cS 
a large fish is very useful for this art He liquor of the gall 
must be received in a marble stone, and you must mix a littk 
vinegar with it, and then add some white clay to the frtness of 
the gall, and this mixture will make the colour brilliant 

1 A recipe similar to this is contained in the small Paris MS., No. yl 
MDCcxLix. B.y where it is called *' Colore aiireo 

XVI, 0/ copper gib with the fatness ofgaU.^ 

If you wish to prepare copper with the fiitness of gall, so as 
to appear gilt, you may do it in this way. Having scraped it 
with a knife, burnish it by rubbing it with a beards tooth* and 
then sprinkle it with a pencil [dipped in] the liquor of die ggll, 
and lay it evenly all over ; afterwards give it another smooth 
coat, and upon this a third ; and each time pass the quill evenly 
all over it, lest any scratch, or lump, or bubble should make the 
copper rough. 

> See Theoph., £. Ed., p. 406. S. Audemar, No. 204. 

( 199 ) 




XV. De colore auripigmento simili. 

Sic facile silnilem poteris servare colorem 
Auripigmento ; memori tu mente teneto. 
Hinc piads magni fel multum congruit arti, 
Marmorea cnjus petra liquor excipiatur, 
Cui vetus et paucum tamen ' admiscebis acetum, 
Fellis et hinc albam turn ' cum pinguedine cretam. 
Reddet splendentem commixtio tanta colorem/ 

» In [ ] omittit R. • I\tm R. » Tcr P. * laquorem R. 

XVI. De cupro fellis pinguedine deaurato. 

Si velut auratum fellis pinguedine cuprum 
Condere curabis, sic hoc implore ipalebis. 
Cultello rasum splendens hoc office tactum. 
Ursi dente ; quidem calamo post \ sperge liquorem 
Fellis ;. et hoc eque tamen ' apponatur ubique. 
Appones alium poet' equo tramite. Rursum 
Huic alium junges ; yioe tamen undique duces 
Equali calamum, ne qua divisio cuprum 
Ne quis monticulus vol ne tumor efierat * uUus. 

» Past P. ; penitus R. « Tegmen P. » Pemius R. * Offerat P. 


xvn. How to make a green colour for painting what 

you please} 

Thus, O painter ! you may obtain for yourself a green ooloiir! 
Grind white earth with the leaves of the black ni^xtshade.' 
Grind them both evenly together on a marble slab until they 
become liquid for the use of the pen, and afterwards take tins 
juice and try it with your paintbrush. Then adorn any writ- 
ings you please with the colour; but take care previously not 
to add too much earth. 

1 See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 894. 

s This chapter must ha?e been written by a person who habitnallj wpAjB 
Italian or French, because the Solanum Nigrum is not known bj the naiie 
of ^' Morelia," or '^ Morelle,'* except in the countries where the Itsliui 
and French languages are spoken. The expression in the MS. of Theo- 
philus runs thus: ''herba quae vulgb morella nuncupalur." The tern 
" morelle " occurs more than once in the MS. of Le Begue, and also in the 
Bolognese MS. It must not be confounded with " Manrelle,** the 
by which the Croton Tinctorium is known at Montpelier. 

xviu. How gre^ glass is to be niade for painting earthen 


By these things the effect of precious glass is shown. Take 
sulphur burnt in the fire, and [burnt] copper, and grind shining 
glass with the powder of these, and take care to make it liquid 
for yourself with gum only, and then place the jar, painted 
over with this, into the fire, for the painting will assume a 
green colour, when the outside of the jar begins to turn red. 
1 See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 398. Wecker, p. 644. 

XIX. Of white glass for painting earthen vessels} 

You must thus make white glass fine enough for painting. 
Grind white glass mixed with sulphur. With these, ground 

1 See Theoph., E. Ed., p. 400. Wccker, p. 644. This probably describes 
an opaque white glass, resembling those threads of white glass which Theo< 



xviL De viridi colore quomodo fi&ri posdt ad qace 

volueria deptngere. 

Sic poteris viridem tibi pictor habere colorem. 

Cum foliis albam morellae^ contere cretam ; 

Hsc in marmorea pariter quoque contere petra, 

Usus ad pennse liquidum dum fiat utrumque.' 

£t post' hunc succum pincello sume probandum. 

Hinc quascunque cufMS scripturas conde colon/ 

Ne cretae nimium ponas tamen ante caveto. 

* MareBam male habet R. * Utrinque R. * Peniius R. * Sic emendavi. 

xvni. De vitro viridi quomodo fieri debeatj ad vasa 

fiMia^ depingenda. 

His rebus vitri patet effectus preciosi : 
Igni combustum sulphur, quaerasque cupellum,' 
Atque teras horum splendens cum pulvere vitrum ; 
Hoc cures solo liquidum tibi ' reddere gummo. 
Attamen inde litam post ^ ignibus injice testam,^ 
Assumet yiridem quoniam* pictura colorem. 
Exterior tests cum cceperit ipsa rubereJ 

' FiguK P. ' Quanuque cupreuttm P., assum quare agmtm W. ' Ter 
W. * Pemtus R. » Coctam P. R. « Qualan R. ? Rubore P. 

XIX. De vitro albo^ ad vasafijctilia^ depingenda. 

Album picturis vitrum sic' attenuabis' 
Candens permixtum cum sulphure contere vitrum 

* VaaaJiguK P., PictUia vaaaVf. * Sic vUrwn R. » AttemuM R. . 

philus (lib. ii. cap. 14) says were sometimes made to surround long-necked 
bottles. Le VieU (p. 27) says that white opaque glass was used for the 
windows in the churches belonging to the monasteries of the Bemardines 
and Cbtercians. 


together until Aey are Gke doat, you must point a thick jar 
all over the outside. Then put it in to be baked by the flame 
of the furnace ; and when it is red-hot, and the painting adheres 
to it, take it out ; so also you may paint vases in die manner 
described in the first book. 

XX. Of black glass for painting earthen vases} 

In the same manner also you may make black glass useful 
for painting. Grind the azure that is found in the earth wiA 
gum ; and then breaking dear glass upon a marble slab, mix 
it up with it^ and grind them again. Tliis mixture will assume 
a blue colour, which, however, the force of the fire will turn to 
a beautiful black, 

1 See Wecker, p. 646« 

XXI. Of glass which is very green} 

So also you may make glass of a very deep green. Take 
very small fragments of burnt copper, which you must after- 
wards mix with the rust of the same. Then grind it again, 
with an admixture of shining glass. Afterwards, pi^jt the jar, 
painted with this, into the furnace ; and when the flame makes 
it white hot, take it out. It will not be of a beautiful ap- 
pearance until it is cold ; for while the glass is made intensely 
hot, the violence of the flame takes away the real beauty of the 

1 See Wecker, p. 645. Theoph., £. Ed^, p. 400. 


His simul attritis, postquam^ fuerint quasi pulvis 
Exterius spissam depinges' undique testam. 
Injice post ipsam fornacis ab igne coquendam. 
Ciim^ simul ipsa rubet, sabi cum pictura coheret, 
Extrahe. Sic etiam^ pinges bipc vascula qusdaiOt 
Ars velut in primo notat insinuata libello 

^ Peniiusque R. * Depwrges P. » Qmm P. R. * Ea W. 

XX, De vitro nigro ad vaaajictilia} depingenda. 

Sic etiam nigrum pingendi tranaJBr in usum. 
Qui terra capitur cum gammo' oontere lazur ; 
£t sic' perspicuum fraagena in marmore vitrum, 
Ipsi miscebis, rursumque terendo parabis. 
Haec quoque caeruleam sumet^ commixtio formam 
Quam ^ tamen in nigrum vertet vi& ignia^ vitrum. 

' VaaaJlg¥li?.,€ava$aW. •GvnmtR. "^ Ui n^W. *Smimiy^. 
^ Qucd W. < Sic emenclaTi ; vertetur xndgnia P. R., eawertet sin- 

XXI. Ve vitro quod nimium viret} 

Sic etiam nimium tu virens effice vitnun. 
Accipies assi subtilia fragmina cupri, 
QuK tamen ejusdem post^ cum rubigine mitten ; 
Bursus et admixto splendenti contere yitro, 
Protinua hinc' pictam fomacibus injice testam/ 
Postquam lucentem dabit ipol flamma colorem, 
Accipe. Non^ pulcram capiet nisi* firigida formam, 
Nam dum fit vitrum nimis fervere, coloris "^ 
Huic aufiert propriam" flammss yiolentia formam. 

» Sic P. R. Dc vt/ro wite wr«i/c W. 'PemhwR. » ffic R. ^Flam- 
mam R. * Nam R. W. • HincVf, 7 Nimiofervore vaporis W. » Pro- 
pria R. 


( 204 ) 





I. [232]^ On pairding earthen vcLses with green glass.* — Take 
green glass and burnt thunderbolts,* and also burnt copper, in 
powder, and mix them with clear glass, previously ground on'a 
smooth stone. And if you wish to paint a vase with it, temper it 
with the aforesaid gum water, and lay it on the vase with a paint- 
brush, and put it into the furnace until it appears thoroughly 
red hot. When cool it will be of the colour of green glass. 

II. [233] To whiten earthen vases with white glau^ — If yon 
wish to make white glass for the purpose of painting, grind hot 
sulphur carefully with white glass, and lay it on a thick piece 
of earthenware, and put it into the furnace. And when it has 
run together, take it out of the fire ; and if you wish to paint 
saucers and phials, made of earthenware, with it, np 
as if for writing, and do as before directed for the green glass. 

in. [259] How earthenware vessels are glazed. — ^Take the 
strongest potter's clay you can procure, and put it into the fur- 
nace with the other vases, or in any other fire, and bake it until 
it is quite red hot. When it is cool, put